Bihu Dance – Bihu is the most popular folk dance of Assam. It derives its name from the Bihu festival which falls sometime around mid – April. Young men and women wearing their traditional attire, suriya for men and mekhela chador for women, perform this dance. They dance to the beat of the dhool (drum) and pepa (pipe made of buffalo horn) in circles and parallel rows.
Hojagiri Dance – Hojagiri is the folk dance of the Reang community of Tripura. This dance is a part of the ceremony to appease the goddess Lakshmi to ensure a good harvest. In this dance, only the lower part of the body moves to rhythmic music. Dancers performing acrobatic feats like balancing an earthen pitcher or a bottle with a lighted lamp on top is the highlight of this dance.
Cheraw Dance – Cheraw is a combination of rhythm and skill with four people holding a bamboo across one another on the ground. The bamboo sticks are clapped together as dancers weave a pattern through them in time with the rhythm. It is a major attraction during all festive occasions in Mizoram.
Bardo Chham – This is a folk dance of the Sherdukpens, a small community in West Kameng district of Arunachal. It depicts the victory of good over evil. According to locals, good and evil forces rule mankind. They believe that in one year, twelve different evil forces appear each month and get together. The Sherdukpens wear masks representing different animals and dance to the accompaniment of drums, cymbals as an act to fight the evil forces.
Singhi Chham – In this folk dance, the dancer wears a mask depicting a snow lion – the cultural symbol of the State. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world – standing sentinel over Sikkim is believed to resemble the legendary snow lion. Former President APJ Abdul Kalam was a fan of this dance form.
By Payel Bhattacharjee