Dances of Mizoram



Dances of Mizoram reflect the cultural vibrancy of the place. Deriving inspiration from the natural beauty of the hilly terrains, the dances of Mizoram are synonymous to the multi-cultural aura of Mizoram. The Khuallam dance of Mizoram dates back to the pre-Christian times. Known as the dance of the guests, Khuallam dance is performed by the males of Mizoram by wearing a traditional costume called Puandum.

Cheraw dance is performed by both males and females of Mizoram. Use of the bamboo staves is the unique trait of the dance of Cheraw in Mizoram. Sarlamkai, also known as Solakia, is an ancient dance form of Mizoram. It is believed that in the past warriors use to indulge in the Sarlamkai dance. Today, both men and women enthusiastically participate in the dance of Solakia. The Chailam dance of Mizoram constitutes four different variations namely Chai Lamthai 1, Chai Lamthai 2, Chai Lamthai 3 and Chai Lamthai 4. This dance is performed especially during the festival of Chapchar Kut in Mizoram.

The Pawi tribal community of Mizoram performs the special dance form of Chawnglaizawn. Apart from major festivals, the Chawnglaizawn dance is also performed on a unique occasion. When a wife dies the husband performs the dance of Chawnglaizawn in Mizoram. Chheihlam dance is performed by the boys and girls of Mizoram with the lyrical use of bamboo tubes and drums. The dancers normally squat on the floor while performing the Chheihlam dance. Puma Zai music is used while performing the Tlanglam dance in Mizoram. Both male and female dancers take part in Tlanglam dance.

Zangtalam is another fascinating dance type of Mizoram which is accompanied by deft drummers. With a red feather, colorful costumes and a shield, the Sawlakin dancers of Mizoram represent a majestic performance. Apart from the lead dancer this dance form also include other performers who are equipped with such instruments as cymbals and weapons.

Khuallam Dance

During a special occasion called Khuangchawi, Khuallam dance is performed by the local performers of Mizoram. The term Khuallam means dance of guests.

The local myth of Mizoram speaks of the fact that to get a place in the paradise one has to achieve the title of Thangchhuah. However, in order to have this title the person has to be either a master hunter, warrior or an excellent dancer. The various expressive feats that are performed by the people to achieve the title of Thangchhuah forms the occasion of Khuangchawi in Mizoram.

Puandum is the traditional costume which is worn by the Khuallam dancers. Available in green, yellow, red and black stripes, the Puandum is swayed in the air by the dancers while performing Khuallam. This very Puandum is also a vital part of the marriage ceremony of Mizoram. Each and every bride of Mizoram wears the Puandum on her marriage day and takes it along with her to the in-laws place. On the tragic event of the death of her husband the wife covers the corpse with the Puandum in Mizoram. Since the Khuallam dance is primarily meant for the guests, hence people invited to view the performance are often seen dancing while coming inside the respective venue.

Among the many dances of Mizoram, Khuallam is a popular form in the place. The unique trait of Khuallam dance lies in the use of gongs. Locally known as Darbu these gongs accompany the steps of the Khuallam dancers rhythmically. Another interesting fact associated with the Khuallam dance of Mizoram is that this one does not involve any kind of vocal songs. As a part of the cultural richness of Mizoram, Khuallam captivates the imagination of not only the local inhabitants but also the tourists.

Cheraw Dance

Cheraw Dance in Mizoram is characterized by the use of bamboo staves which are kept in cross and horizontal forms on the ground. While the male dancers move these bamboo staves in rhythmic beats, the female dancers perform by stepping in and out of the bamboo blocks. Recognized as one of the oldest dances of Mizoram, Cheraw has become an integral part of almost every festival of Mizoram.

It is believed that Cheraw Dance originated as early as in the 1st century AD. Aptly supported by two bases, the bamboos are clapped together on a particular beat by the male dancers. The females who have a perfect sense of timing, dance gracefully by stepping in and out of the crossed and horizontally laid bamboo staves. The common costumes worn by the female performers during the Cheraw Dance include Thihna, Vakiria, Kawrchei and Puanchei. All these traditional costumes of Cheraw Dance come in vibrant colors that further brighten up the surrounding environment.

In the ancient ages, Cheraw Dance was performed with the hope of providing solace to soul of a deceased mother who had left her newborn child on earth. However, today, the horizon of Cheraw Dance has expanded considerably. In fact this dance is performed on every big and small occasion of Mizoram. More often than not the various movements made by the Cheraw dancers are inspired by the nature. While some expressions of Cheraw Dance resemble the swaying of trees some others indicate the flying of birds. There is no denying the fact that Cheraw Dance is surely a most enchanting form of Mizoram culture.

Sarlamkai

Sarlamkai is an ancient dance form of Mizoram which was performed in the region by the past warriors to flaunt their might. Drums, cymbals or gongs mainly accompany the Sarlamkai dance of Mizoram. No song is played or sung by the performers while Sarlamkai dance is going on. Solakia, a type of the Sarlamkai dance, is also a part of the cultural dynamism of Mizoram.

The historical past of Mizoram states the fact that Sarlamkai was performed when a triumphant warrior wished to keep the defeated ruler as his lifelong slave. In the past ages the victor used to celebrate his triumph for five long days. While the first two days were spent by the triumphant ruler by indulging in various festive activities, the third day was alloted for the slaughtering of a pig. The blood of this slaughtered pig was then used to cover the body of the winning warrior. In the evening hours of the fourth day or on the morning of the fifth day the ruler used to wash off this blood.

Enriched with such an interesting history, the Sarlamkai dance has today become an inevitable traditional custom of Mizoram. The males and females of Mizoram participate in the dance of Sarlamkai with great enthusiasm. While the lead performer of Sarlamkai adorns himself as a warrior other performers use vibrant attires. A dance to celebrate the triumph of the warrior in a battle, the Sarlamkai dance surely exudes a distinctive charm in Mizoram. Such is the popularity of Sarlamkai that tourists coming from other parts of India are often mesmerized by the sheer ecstasy of this dance form.

Chailam

Chailam is a very popular form of dance in the state of Mizoram. This form of dance is performed on 'Chapchar Kut', which is one of the most significant festivals of the people of Mizoram.

While performing the dance form of Chailam, the men and women dancers stand alternatively. They form a circle and the women hold the waist of the man, and the man in turn clutches the shoulder of a women. The band of musicians playing the drums and the mithun's horn stands in the middle of the circle of dancers.

The musician who plays the drum actually plans the whole dance. The lyrics of the chai song are sung by musicians who play the mithun's horn. The dance starts only after the drummer beats on the drum and with the fourth beat of the drum the chai song is sung. The dancers move rhythmically to the left and right in harmony with beats of the drum.

The dance form of chailam has four versions, on the basis of the style it follows. The four versions of the dance are Chai Lamthai I, Chai Lamthai II, Chai Lamthai III and Chai Lamthai IV. The popular legend associated with the chailam dance is once a king went out for a hunting expedition with his men. They failed in a miserable way and had to satisfy themselves without a kill. To cheer his men the king invited them and they were served a drink of rice beer. Under the influence of the drinks, the kinsmen enjoyed the party by singing and dancing which was followed by a feast.

Chawnglaizawn

Chawnglaizawn is a popular folk dance of Pawi community of Mizoram. It forms an inseparable part of the culture of the Pawi community. One of the important features of the dance is that it is performed on two special occasions. Firstly, the dance is performed by a mourning husband on the death of his wife. The mourning husband continuously performs this dance for a long period till he gets exhausted. The grieved person is consoled by his friends and relatives and they dance on his behalf. It signifies that the relatives mourn with the grief-stricken. It is similar to a ritual that is followed quite systematically.

Secondly, Chawnglaizawn dance is practiced on festivals and also to celebrate winning of trophies that is brought home by successful hunters. During festivals, Chawnglaizawn is participated by groups comprising of large numbers of dancers. Both men and women dancers participate in this folk dance. The male and female dancers stand in rows while dancing to the beat of the drums. The dancers use colored shawls that add color to the dance. The musical instrument that accompanies the dance aredrums.

Chheihlam

The dance form of Chheihlam is performed generally in the evening over a round of rice beer. The dance usually reflects the spirit of joy and excitement of the people of Mizoram. The lyrics are usually in the form of triplets. The lyrics are spontaneous expressions of the composers that are created on-the-spot. The compositions normally narrate the heroic deeds and adventures. The songs also praise the honorary guests who are present there. The dancers wear traditional dresses while performing the dance.

Chheihlam is performed on the tunes of a song which is called Chheih Hla. The song is accompanied by traditional musical instruments like drum or bamboo tubes. The dancers even clap hands which add to the rhythm and music of the dance. Both men and women dancers perform this dance. The dancers scrunch on the floor in the form of a circle while in the middle of the circle a dancer stands who recites the song. The dance includes various movements of the legs and the whole body. The rhythm and the tempo of the dance is such that even the people around are influenced to join the dance.

One can try this dance very easily as it has no fixed choreography. Chheihlam dance form is practiced especially during the evenings, when the whole day's work is completed. The dancer who is in the middle initiates the dance with different types of jerking movements of the leg and various other gentle movements of the hands and the body.

Tlanglam

Tlanglam is one of the most popular dance forms of Mizoram. It is most widely performed all throughout the state. Several varieties of the dance have evolved using the music of Puma Zai. Both men and women perform this dance.

Tlanglam is a group dance performed by a number of dancers. The dancers dress themselves in colorful costumes and headgears while performing this dance. The gay and carefree spirit of the people of Mizoram is very well expressed through this dance form. While performing Tlanglam, the dancers are accompanied by musicians who play the traditional musical instruments. The rhythm and the flow of the Tlanglam dance add to the charm of the dance.

Zangtalam

Zangtalam is one of the famous dance forms of the state of Mizoram. Zangtalam dance is performed by the dancers of Paite community of Mizoram. Both men and women of the community take part in the dance. This traditional dance form is very rhythmic and elegant. The dancers wear colorful traditional dresses while performing this dance. The men dancers stand in a line facing the women dancers and perform this rhythmic dance.

While performing Zangtalam the dancers sing responsive songs. The person who plays the drum can be called the leader and director of the dance. The drummer even decides the duration of the dance. There are very few steps, which are very simple. This dance form could be joined and enjoyed by anybody.

Sawlakin

Sawlakin is a form of dance popular among the people of Mizoram. Originally this was a Lakher dance, which has now been adopted by all the Mizos. The word Sawlakia refers to the spirit of the slain. The warrior who had been a part of a hunting expedition or killed a man usually heads the dance. The warrior dresses himself in the best of his clothes and also wears a plume of red feather. This person also equips himself with a gun or dao and a shield.

The warrior is followed by a row of dancers, who carry either weapons, or musical instruments like cymbals or gongs. To perform this dance the dancers need lot of skill and technique. It reflects the festive and victorious mood of the dancers. The women all throughout the dance provide the dancers with Zu. Presently this traditional form of dance has become very popular. The dance form has undergone several modifications. At present there is no head in the circle of the dance and no Zu is used. This dance is performed in huge groups.

Some of the men in the dancing troupe stand in a group and play different musical instruments like drums or bugles. The Sawlakin dancers perform the dance by slowly moving forward and going round the head. While dancing the dancers move the weapons and shields from time to time with the rhythm of the drum or gong beats.



Last Updated on : 28/06/2013



     


     

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