Discuss the key features and significance of folk dance of North Eastern India. 10 marks

Mentor’s comment-

  • Start by explaining how dance and festivals are manifestation of creativity and are among the oldest art forms practised in India.
  • In the body explain with examples that the folk dances capture the movements of everyday life as well as animals and birds. You can draw a map and show different forms of folk dance of all sister states.
  • Conclude with their significance.

Northeast India comprises of eight states, which includes the state of Sikkim and the seven sister states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura. Folk
dances in these states are often performed during festivals or to celebrate life. Dance is an important aspect in the lives of people living in this part of the country and hence many age-old dance forms are still practiced and kept alive.

Features of folk dance of North Eastern India:
1. Depiction of good over evil:
1. Ex: Bardo Chham is performed by the Sherdukpen tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The dancers wear masks of 12 different animals and perform to the beats of many percussion instruments. Sherdukpen tribe believes that there are 12 different evil forces and they all appear in different months to mar the happiness of the community. The masks represent evil forces and the main objective of this art form is to ward off these evil forces.
2. Performed before harvesting crops:
0. Ponung is one of the most important folk dances of Arunachal Pradesh. Performed before the harvest of staple crops, it has women dancers.
1. Shad Suk Mynsiem of Meghalaya is a dance festival which is celebrated after every successful harvest.
3. Performed during various festivals:
0. Ex: Bihu forms the most important part of the Bihu festival celebration. The dance is performed by young men and women, accompanied by the playing of pipes & drums.
1. Buiya dance performed by the Digaru Mishmis of Arunachal Pradesh, is the main attraction of many tribal festivals.

2. Hojagiri dance of Tripura is performed during festivals, such as ‘Laxmi Puja’, ‘Durga
Puja’ and the third day of ‘Dusshera’.
1. Celebration of nature:
1. Ex: Bagurumba is believed to have been inspired from nature, it can be further classified into
different dance forms – each inspired from elements of nature like animals, plants, birds, insects,
water, air and so on.
2. To relax and rejuvenate:
0. Ex: Jhumur is the dance is performed by the tribal people who work in tea estates of
Assam. It is often their only recreational activity and this certainly rejuvenates them
after a long and tiring day.
3. Showcase of rich tradition and culture:
0. Ex: Ojapali dacne of Assam.
1. Cheraw Dance of Mizoram.
4. Paying respects to the deity worshipped by the tribe:
0. Ex: Nongkram Dance of Meghalya.
5. Celebration of victory over an enemy:
0. Ex: Chang Lo dance of Nagaland.
6. To celebrate weddings:
0. Maruni is the main attraction of Sikkim weddings.

Significance of folk dance of North Eastern India:
1. Folk Dances are an integral part of India’s tradition and culture, and it goes without saying that their significance was, is and shall always be immense.
2. Folk Dances form a part of our country’s unique identity.
3. These forms and expressions of Indian Art gain India love, fame and respect in foreign lands.
4. Folk Dances are also considered a part of our history and their tales can often reveal a lot about the periods these dances have developed through.
5. These dances are also excellent forms of exercise and can be a very useful combination of dance and physical exercise, to gain one physical fitness as well as creative satisfaction.
6. Folk Dances can bring harmony. When dancers get together, often holding hands to dance, it brings a feeling of unity and harmony within their group. This can be very beneficial for the peace of the land.

7. When people perform Folk Dances together, they get to know and love their land deeper.
8. NE Folk Dances are appreciated and admired all over the world, and can bring their dancers name, fame and fortune.

Each festival in the North East is a chance to showcase the unique culture, dance and music of the state and its people, and although most are reasonably new events, they are staged to promote and preserve ancient traditions at risk of dying out as young people increasingly leave their remote villages to find work and education in towns and cities

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3 years ago


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