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Cheraw dance: An extraordinary dance with great precision and skill

Friday, April 12, 2013 | 10:57:00 AM

Cheraw dance is one of the oldest performed in the state of Mizoram. It is the most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizos. It reflects the culture of the people habitant in this part of India. People believe that this can has a foreign origin because the ancestors came from far east Aisa and later became the permanent citizen of this place. In addition to that some people believe that this dance came into existence in early 1st century A.D.

These dances are performed on certain festivals, marriages or any other occasions. In earlier days, the dance was performed to ensure a safe passage for the departed souls of mothers who died at childbirth, so that she may enter the abode safely. Nowadays, Cheraw dance is performed on any occasion. It is also performed on the occasion of Buhza Aih which means bumper harvest by an individual family.

One of the peculiar features of the dance is that bamboo sticks are used during the performance. That’s why it is also known as the Bamboo Dance. Both men and women participate in the performance.  The men have the duty of holding and tapping the bamboo sticks on the ground. They are sitting on the ground in horizontals lines. The women dancers step alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of flat bamboos. The dance moves and the stepping have different variations.  The stepping is an intimation of the movements of birds and the swaying of trees.

This dance form requires great precision and timing that why it is performed by a few selected girls having extraordinary skills. It is organised in an open space. A dozen of participants can be involved in a single performance. A large gathering gets together to watch this skilful dance form. On many occasion this dance is performed in moonlit nights.

Gongs and drums are used to escort the dance. The music of these instruments makes this dance majestic to watch. The tapping of the bamboo sticks are synchronized with the music of the instruments.  *

As it is one of the most colourful dances the female dancers wear Thihna, Vakiria, Kawrchei and Puanchei. These costume come in different patterns and colours. The costumes enhances the joy of watching this natural dance form.

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