Introduction To Folk Dances of Assam
Assam, a northeastern state of India, is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, and a vibrant tapestry of folk dances of Assam that reflect the region’s rich heritage. Nestled between the eastern Himalayas and the vast plains of India, Assam’s unique geographical and cultural landscape has given rise to a wide array of folk dances, each with its own story, significance, and distinctive style. These dances are not merely performances; they are windows into the soul of Assam, connecting its people to their roots, history, and the natural world around them.
Here Some Famous Folk Dances of Assam
Bihu Dance – Folk Dances of Assam
Bihu is perhaps the most famous and beloved folk dances of Assam. It’s synonymous with the Bihu festival, which marks the Assamese New Year and celebrates the changing seasons. The Bihu dance comes alive with energetic and rhythmic movements, accompanied by traditional Assamese music. Dancers, clad in colorful traditional attire, create intricate patterns and tell stories through their graceful movements. It’s a celebration of life, agriculture, and the natural world.
Bichhua Dance – folk dances of assam
Bichhua is a captivating folk dance indigenous to the state of Assam in northeastern India. It is predominantly performed by the Bodo community, one of the ethnic groups residing in Assam. This vibrant dance form derives its name from the centipede, “bichhua” in the local Bodo language, and it mimics the graceful and agile movements of this arthropod.
Dancers wear colorful traditional Bodo attire, which includes ornate headgear, jewelry, and costumes. The dance is characterized by intricate footwork, quick spins, and fluid body movements that imitate the centipede’s undulating motion. Musicians typically accompany the dancers with traditional instruments like the Dhol (drum) and the Serja (flute).
Bichhua dance is often performed during cultural festivals, weddings, and other special occasions among the Bodo people. It not only serves as a form of entertainment but also helps preserve and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Bodo community. This dance is a testament to the artistic and cultural diversity of Assam, adding to the vibrant tapestry of the region’s folk traditions.
Bodo Dance – Folk Dances of Assam
The Bodo people, an indigenous community in Assam, have their own vibrant folk dances of Assam. The Bagurumba dance is a striking example, celebrated during festivals and special occasions. Dancer’s don traditional Bodo attire adorned with intricate beadwork and ornaments. The dance involves rhythmic footwork and graceful hand movements, symbolizing the beauty of nature and life’s rhythms. The Bardwisikhla dance, performed during Magh Bihu, showcases the resilience and prosperity of the Bodo community.
Bagurumba Dance – Folk Dances of Assam
Bagurumba is a popular folk dance of Assam, particularly associated with the Bodo community. This vibrant and rhythmic dance reflects the Bodo culture and is performed on various festive occasions and celebrations.
In the Bagurumba dance, participants wear traditional Bodo attire, which includes colorful clothing, ornate headgear, and jewelry. The dance is characterized by graceful movements, swaying, and synchronized footwork. Dancers often form a circle and perform in unison, creating a visually captivating spectacle.
Bagurumba is not only a form of entertainment but also a way to celebrate Bodo traditions and cultural heritage. It plays a significant role in the cultural fabric of Assam, showcasing the diversity and richness of the state’s folk traditions.
Tiwa Dance – Folk Dances of Assam
The Tiwa tribe has its distinct dance forms, with the Phakuwa Dance being a prominent one. This dance is traditionally performed during the Phakuwa festival, celebrating the Tiwa New Year. Dancer’s don colorful traditional attire and masks representing Tiwa folklore characters. The dance’s graceful choreography and storytelling through movement help pass down Tiwa traditions and cultural identity to younger generations.
Karbi Dance – Folk Dances of Assam
The Karbi tribe has its own folk dances of assam, and the Cheraw Dance is a standout. This traditional dance involves rhythmic and acrobatic displays of skill, performed by both men and women. Dancers use long bamboo sticks, clapping them together while stepping in and out between them with precision and synchronization. Cheraw is a testament to the Karbi people’s dexterity and cultural pride.
Deodhani Dance – Folk Dances of Assam
The Deodhani Dance is a unique and mystical form of expression in Assam. Deodhani women, considered embodiments of goddesses, perform this dance during religious and cultural ceremonies. Dancers enter a trance-like state, moving with grace and fluidity. They wear distinctive costumes, including masks and bells, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. The Deodhani Dance is believed to invoke the blessings of deities and spirits, offering solace and protection to the community.
Rabha Dance – Folk Dances of Assam
The Rabha tribe in Assam has its folk dances that reflect their cultural heritage. One such dance is the Rabha dance, often performed during their festivals and celebrations. Dancers wear traditional attire and jewelry, and the dance is marked by rhythmic footwork and hand movements. It serves as a medium to express the Rabha community’s traditions and customs.
Here Some Instruments Are Use In Folk Dances Of Assam.
The Dhol is one of the most iconic and indispensable instruments in Assam’s folk dances of Assam. It is a large, cylindrical drum with two heads, made from wood and animal skin. The skilled Dhol players, known as “Dholias,” use sticks to produce powerful and rhythmic beats. The Dhol sets the pace and energy for dancers, creating an electrifying atmosphere during performances. It is particularly prominent in the Bihu dance, where it drives the celebratory spirit and adds vigor to the movements.
The Pepa, a traditional bamboo flute, plays a melodious and soul-stirring role in Assam’s folk dances. Its sweet and enchanting notes add depth to the music, creating a harmonious blend with the Dhol. The combination of the Pepa’s lilting tunes and the rhythmic drumbeats forms the core of the musical accompaniment in Bihu and other dances. The instrument is an essential part of Assam’s cultural and musical heritage.
Taal, also known as manjira or kartal, are small metallic cymbals that are an integral part of Assamese folk-dance performances. They are usually held in the hands of dancers or accompanying musicians. The clinking sounds produced by Taal create a lively and rhythmic atmosphere, punctuating the dance sequences and adding a layer of auditory texture. The instrument is used in various folk dances to enhance the overall musical experience.
Gogona (Jew’s Harp)
The Gogona is a unique and traditional mouth harp made of bamboo and metal. It is used in Assam’s folk dances, particularly Bihu, to produce a distinctive twanging sound. Dancers sometimes play the Gogona while performing, creating a captivating spectacle. The instrument’s twangy tones add an element of playfulness and rhythm to the dances, making it a cherished part of Assamese musical culture.
Khol (Traditional Drum)
The Khol is a traditional Assamese drum with a distinctive hourglass shape. It is typically used in the Sattriya dance, a classical dance form of Assam. The Khol is played with both hands and produces deep and resonant tones. It is known for its integral role in creating the classical and spiritual ambiance of Sattriya performances. The instrument’s unique shape and sound are symbolic of Assam’s cultural heritage.
The Gagana is a simple wooden whistle often used in Assam’s folk dances to add a whimsical and playful element to the performances. Dancers play the Gagana to imitate bird calls or other natural sounds, infusing the dances with a touch of nature’s beauty. The Gagana’s sounds contribute to the overall thematic richness of the dances, connecting them to Assam’s rural and natural landscapes.
Toka (Bamboo Clappers)
Toka are bamboo clappers that dancers hold and strike together during some folk dances, such as Bihu and Bagurumba. These clappers produce rhythmic clapping sounds that synchronize with the music, enhancing the overall rhythm and energy of the dance. Toka add an exciting and dynamic element to the performances, contributing to the infectious enthusiasm of Assam’s folk dances.
Baahi (Traditional Horn)
The Baahi is a traditional horn made from materials such as animal horns or bamboo. It is often used in some of Assam’s tribal dances to produce distinct horn sounds. These sounds add a rustic and cultural touch to the performances, highlighting the diversity of Assam’s folk traditions. The Baahi’s deep, resonant tones contribute to the tribal dances’ authenticity and cultural richness.
Conclusion of Folk Dances of Assam
In conclusion, the folk dances of Assam are a vibrant and integral part of the state’s cultural tapestry. These dances are not merely performances; they are living traditions that resonate with the essence of Assam’s heritage. From the exuberant Bihu dance, which celebrates the seasons and agricultural cycles, to the classical elegance of Sattriya, steeped in religious and spiritual significance, each dance form showcases the diversity and depth of Assamese culture.
The traditional instruments like the Dhol, Pepa, Taal, and others play a pivotal role in infusing life and rhythm into these performances. They are a testament to the artistry and creativity of the people of Assam.
Moreover, Assam’s folk dances serve as a bridge between the past and the present, connecting generations and communities to their roots. These dances are a source of pride and cultural preservation, reflecting the deep connection to nature, spirituality, and the vibrant traditions that define Assam. As they continue to evolve and adapt to modern times, these dances remain a dynamic and cherished part of Assamese culture, capturing the heart and soul of this remarkable region.