The diversity in the sublime natural beauty of Northeast India fills your heart with peace and pleasure. The wavy lands in the lap and foothills of Himalayas are covered with lush greenery of forests which are home to thousands of wild animals. No doubt, each and every element in Seven Sister’s States mesmerise the tourists and travellers.
The states of far most north eastern part of India including Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have rich diversity in culture too. Talking about culture, it is incomplete without its music, dance, literature and other arts. India is a country which has no boundary in accepting all the cultures together. It contains so many artistic dance forms all over the country. And the dance forms of Northeast Indian States are just mind blowing. They are like added flavours in the delicious tours in those seven states, which attracts several tourists every year.
You shall remember that these dances do not belong to a particular state only; they can be originated from anywhere else. But based on the popularity and amount of performances of each dance form, some dances serve as a hallmark for a particular state. Other than these dance forms, there are several dance forms that defies the rich heritage of northeast India.
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Bihu is a popular and most important festival of Assam which is celebrated three times of a year. Both men and women perform a group dance during these festivals which is widely known as bihu dance. Maintaining their different gender roles, the dancers show different postures like twirls, squats, bends and movements of hips, arms and wrists. Female dancers wear mekhala-chador while male dancers put on dhoti-gamocha in the dance performance. There are various forms of bihu dances like ‘deori’, ‘mising’ etc.
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During the Behdienkhlam festival in Meghalaya, people of Meghalaya, especially the Pnar Tribe, takes part in laho dance with colourful attire. Two men stand in both side of a woman and they link each other’s arms to perform in particular steps. There is a comedian who can spontaneously do humorous recitation with the dance to entertain the audience.
Laxi Puja or the hojagiri festival in Tripura brings a lot of enjoyment in the local people in forms of music, dance, dishes etc. The most interesting part of their celebration is the dance form during this puja which occurs on the first full moon night after Durga Puja. Four or six members in a team, all women, sing and balance on earthen pitchers, taking a bottle on the head and earthen lamp on the hand. Other such props are used too and only lower half of the body is moved.
Cheraw dance is considered to be the oldest dance form of Mizoram. In this dance, male participants move the bamboo staves, which are kept cross and horizontal form, in particular rhythm and female dancers step in and out the blocks with beats. When the bamboos are clapped, they sound like a rhythm. The dancers use colourful clothing for this performance like thihna, vakiria, kawrchei and puanchei. It is an inseparable part of almost all festive occasions of Mizoram.
Thang Ta –Manipur
The art of sword and spear, thang ta, is basically a martial art of Manipur. Traditionally it is called Huyen Langlon in Manipuri language, where huyen means art and langlon refers to the knowledge of art. It contains sword, spear, dagger and other external weapons along with internal practice of controlling own self. With the rhythm of breathing, soft movements are done by the dancers. Technically, it is sort of war dances and need expertise to perform.
Chang Lo –Nagaland
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Probably named after the Chang tribe of Nagaland, chang lo dance form is a very popular dance of now-a-days. It is often called ‘sua lua’ and performed during three days of Poanglem festival. History says that chang lo used to be performed as a victory of a warrior. That is why male dancers put on a warrior costume of naga tribe displaying war tactics of ancient Nagaland. Female dancers wear beautiful and colourful costume in contrast.
Bardo Chham –Arunachal Pradesh
Locals of Arunachal Pradesh believe that there are good and evil in every human being, which clearly is seen in their dance form named bardo chham. The tribal dancers perform a dramatic flight between these two entities to bring joy and peace, wearing colourful masks. Both men and women take part in this dance which is an example of the native people’s close interaction with Mother Nature and her natural elements.