Colourful Assamese dances | Daily News

Colourful Assamese dances

India is a multi-linguistic and multi-cultural land. East Indian state of India Manipur has its own cultural dance form Manipuri. Among the seven Indian classical dances, Manipuri is one of the most beautiful and graceful dance forms. Yet numerous other North Eastern Indian states are also having excellent attractive, classical and folk dance forms. Among them are Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland Tiripur, Sikkim and Nizoram. This Northeastern region is collectively named by the Government of India as MDONER (The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region). All these states have their own unique, beautiful, rich, and traditional cultural dance forms and folk dance forms. The North-Eastern states are linked with India through a narrow strip through the West Indian state of West Bengal. The narrow corridor is known as the Siliguri Corridor. Further Assam state is demarcated by two international borders such as Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Assam became a part of the Indian subcontinent during the British rule of India in 1824. Among the Indian states, Assam is quite known to the world more or less by the name only. Unfortunately, the rich cultural values and cultural traditions are almost unknown and uncommon in the world cultural map. Still internationally this state is famous for Assam tea and Assam silk. And also it is discovered that the state has natural petroleum resources. The state contains biodiversity. The term biodiversity means that the land has a variety of botanical resources and animal husbandry.

Assam has three categories of beautiful traditional classical dances. They are Bhaona, Oja Pali and Satriya Nritya. Bhaona classical dance form of Assam was originally performed in certain villages. The classical dance is based on the Vaishnava cult. A vital factor of the dance tradition is the role of Sutradhara who now and then appears and explains at different levels about the dance Bhaona. Modelled Bhaona in some temple is known as Cali or Natuwa. It is practised by females only. It includes Thandava stances and subtle Lassya movements. Another classical dance form of Assam is Oja Pali. This dance form contains a group of chorus, singers and dancers. Oja as the main person and Pali are considered as his assistants. The source of the dance is based on epics. Small cymbals are used for the classical dance. Satriya Nritya is another outstanding classical dance form of the culturally rich state of Assam. This dance form originated to propagate and promote Vishnavaism. This is the last inclusion of Indian Classical Dance forms.

Besides the rich cultural dance forms, so many beautiful folk dances also exist in Assam. Bhinu dance, Deodhant, Bodo’s Bagurumba, Ali Ai Ligang dance, Khamba Lim, Dhuliya and Bhawariya, Barpeta’s Bhortal Nritya and Jumur Nach are some of them. Among the dance forms, Bihu dance is one of the most popular folk dances which is incorporated with the Bihu festival of Assam. It is practised throughout the state and not confined to any particular district or districts.

This dance is performed for particular traditional music. The vocal musicians and drummers play a vital role in this dance. The drum used in the dance is called Dhulia which is a twin-faced drum. Like the Tamil traditional drum Thavil, one side (one face of the drum) is played with the bare hand, whilst the other is played with a stick. The rhythmic pattern of the drum is described as Seus. Traditionally, before the dance starts the drummers play the drums, and then they change the rhythmic syllabus and enter the dancing area. First of all, in an ordinary manner one single drummer enters the scene by inducing a dancing mood to the dancers and audience. Following the drummer, male dancers enter the dance scene with a well-arranged and systematic formation with singing. The songs used for this folk dance is known as Bihu Geet. For the Bihu Geet, a particular variety of cymbal, Gogona a bamboo made an instrument with a reed, a whistle made out of clay and bamboo flute are very often used for this particular kind of traditional folk dance. The lyric theme of the folk dance tradition is more or less based on numerous factors. Especially it describes the lifestyle of the villagers, farmers and history of the state. It also uses to welcome the Assamese New Year. Male dancers and female dancers participate in the dance. The female dancers dance with a specific decoration.

Deodhant is another folk dance closely linked with the snake goddess of the land named Manasa. This dance is danced by the female dancer only. Flute and drums are the main instruments generally used for this dance. In between this dance some martial arts techniques are also adopted and used. Barpeta’s Bhortal Nritya is another important folk dance, danced by six to 10 dancers specially confined to certain regions of the state called as Barpeta and Guwahati.

Khamba Lim is another important folk dance. It reflects the typical folk dance tradition. Two groups of men and females participate in folk dance. Another folk dance named Dhuliya and Bhawariya is quite different from other Assam’s folk dances. Masks are used in this dance form. Cymbals and drums are used in this dance. Ali Ai Ligang folk dance of Assam is practised in two certain districts of Assam. Like all other folk dances, the Assamese folk dances are also colourful, attractive and rhythmic. Musical source for the folk dances is soul-stirring and melodious.


 

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