The Chhattisgarhi culture is immersed with varieties of dance forms, primarily due to the number of tribes residing across the vast expanse of the state. There is a cultural amalgamation due to contributions of each tribe and sub dialect.
Most of the folk dance forms of Chhattisgarh are performed as a part of rituals, and are performed in reverence to Gods or denote the changing of seasons.Special costumes and accessories are made for such dance forms and the rapid movements combined with perfect synchronization will leave you mesmerised.
Here are a few of the dance forms you must witness:
1. Saila Dance
The dance form from Chhattisgarh is performed by boys after the harvest season. This stick-dance involves the boys who move in various styles as they strike their stick against the stick of the person standing next to them. The people who participate in the dance are given paddy by the villagers as a sign of gratitude. The climax of this unique dance form is usually a Snake Dance!
Usually performed by tribal groups like Gonds, the Baigas and Oraons in Chhattisgarh. This dance form marks the end of rainy season and advent of spring!
3. Sua Nacha
It is usually called as Parrot dance and is performed during the occassion of Goura Marriage! It is a typical type of movement identified with love. The entertainers sing and move around, accompanied by loud forms of clapping.
It is the dark horse of Chhattisgarh Folk Dance! It portrays the account of Pandavas – the main characters of an epic battle. Teejan Bai of Chhattisgarh is one of the most famous Pandvani performers, she has got various awards like Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan etc.
5. Panthi Dance
Panthi Dance is one of the most important forms of folk dance in this region. A prominent ritual of the Satnami community of Chhattisgarh. The community celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Ghasidas on Maghi Purnima. The rich cultural heritage and traditional legacies of the tribal groups of the Durg region is clearly depicted through this dance form. The dance combines a variety of steps and patterns and usually denotes the teachings and sayings of their holy teacher.
6. Raut Nacha
It is also known as the Folk dance of Cow herds!
The cowherds of Chhattisgarh are the main artists of Raut Nacha. The Yadava/Yaduvanshis, a caste of Chhattisgarh consider themselves to be descendants of Krishna. The scenes depict the fierce fight between King Khansa and the cowherds of that area. The Yadavs or the cowherds represent good with Lord Krishna as their almighty. Raut Nacha reinforces the age old truth of the triumph of good over evil. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the 11th day after Diwali.
A lesser known dance form, its tough to categorize it as a set dance form due to lack of a fixed pattern.
A Halloween like ritual, it is played by the kids in the Bastar region. As the sun sets in, the kids are all dressed up in rags and worn out costumes. Their faces become nothing less than a canvas with chalk, coal and powdered rangoli smeared over it. They dance around in circles in front of all the houses in the village after which they are given ration as sign of gratitude for the dance and yes, there is a celebration by the kids with the same items collected! Its true impact can only be seen to be experienced!
Of all the dance forms, this one is pure fun. The dancers are mounted on two long bamboo or just any firm sticks and maneuver through the crowd of other Gendi (sticks) ridden dancers. Thumping on the ground, maintaining excellent balance as they sway to the tribal acoustics and percussions – this is one amazing folk dance which has managed to keep it’s tradition alive.
Dance, like they say is the expression of human spirit.
The same form of expression is in full display in Chhattisgarh and is evident from the rich cultural heritage of the state!