“Enchanting Rhythms: Exploring the Folk Dances of Assam – A Glimpse into Assamese Culture”
assam dance Assam, a land of natural beauty and cultural richness, is known for its diverse traditions and vibrant celebrations. Among its cultural treasures, the folk dances of Assam hold a special place. These dances are not just a form of artistic expression but also a reflection of the state’s unique heritage. In this informative blog post, we will take you on a mesmerising journey through the various folk dances of Assam, shedding light on the history, significance, and the sheer enchantment they bring to Assamese culture.
Bihu Dance – The Heartbeat of Assam
Bihu, the most famous folk dance of Assam, is often referred to as the heartbeat of the state. Celebrated during the Bihu festivals, this dance embodies the spirit of Assamese life. It is performed by both men and women, with the dancers forming two rows and swaying in unison to the rhythmic beats of the dhol (drum) and pepa (buffalo horn).
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The Bihu dance is a celebration of nature’s beauty and the agricultural cycle. Dancers wear traditional attire, with women donning vibrant mekhela chadors and men wearing dhotis. The dance is characterised by energetic footwork, graceful hand movements, and the infectious enthusiasm of the performers.
Sattriya Dance – A Spiritual Elevation
Sattriya dance, originating from the Vaishnavite monasteries of Assam, is a classical dance form deeply rooted in spirituality. It is one of the eight classical dance forms of India and showcases the devotion and tales of Lord Krishna through graceful movements and expressions.
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Sattriya dancers wear traditional white attire and often perform barefoot. The dance incorporates intricate footwork, graceful gestures, and storytelling through expressions. Sattriya is not just a dance; it’s a spiritual journey that transports both the performers and the audience to a higher plane of consciousness.
Bagurumba Dance – The Dance of the Bodos
The Bodo community of Assam has its unique dance form known as Bagurumba. This lively and vibrant dance is performed by Bodo women, often during their festivals and celebrations. Bagurumba is a celebration of the natural beauty of Assam and the simple joys of life.
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Dressed in traditional Bodo attire, which includes colorful dokhna and aronai, the dancers move in a circular formation, swaying their bodies to the melodious tunes of traditional instruments. Bagurumba is not just a dance; it’s a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Bodo people.
Ali Ai Ligang Dance – The Mishing Marvel
The Mishing community, one of the indigenous tribes of Assam, celebrates the Ali Ai Ligang festival with a captivating dance of the same name. This dance is a joyful expression of the Mishing people’s agrarian way of life.
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Ali Ai Ligang dance involves rhythmic steps, intricate hand movements, and a colourful display of traditional Mishing attire. Dancers wear vibrant mekhela-sadors adorned with tribal motifs and jewellery made from natural materials. The dance symbolises unity, harmony, and the abundance of nature.
Bhortal Dance – Rhythms of Assamese Traditions
Bhortal dance is a traditional Assamese dance form performed primarily by women during festivals and special occasions. The word “bhortal” means ‘rhythmic hand clapping,’ and this dance lives up to its name as it involves synchronised hand claps and footwork.
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Dancers wear vibrant silk mekhela chadors and perform with graceful movements and expressions. Bhortal dance not only showcases the elegance of Assamese traditions but also fosters a sense of unity among the performers and the audience.
Deodhani Dance – A Mystical Ritual
Deodhani dance is a mystical and ancient dance form of Assam, often associated with the worship of serpent goddess Manasa. This dance is performed by women who believe they are possessed by the spirit of the goddess and use it as a medium to convey her blessings.
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The dancers wear traditional white attire and adorn themselves with sacred symbols. During the dance, they enter a trance-like state and perform serpent-like movements, symbolising the divine connection with the goddess. Deodhani dance is a unique blend of spirituality and artistic expression.
Muga Silpi Dance – Weaving Stories with Threads
The Muga Silpi dance is a tribute to the craftsmanship of Assam’s silk weavers. Muga silk, known for its golden hue, is a prized possession in Assam, and this dance form celebrates the intricate art of silk weaving.
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Dancers imitate the movements of weaving and dyeing silk, using graceful gestures and intricate footwork. The dance is a reminder of the importance of silk in Assamese culture and the skill of the weavers who create these exquisite fabrics.
Bhaona Dance – Epitome of Assamese Theatre
Bhaona is a traditional form of Assamese theatre that incorporates dance, drama, and music to depict stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is performed on mobile stages known as “Bananas” and is an integral part of Assamese cultural celebrations.
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The Bhaona dance involves elaborate costumes and makeup, with performers portraying characters from the epics. It combines storytelling with rhythmic movements and music, providing both entertainment and spiritual enrichment to the audience.
Sattriya Dance – The Soul of Assam
Xattriya dance, another classical dance form of Assam, is deeply rooted in the Sattriya tradition and showcases the grace and spiritual essence of Assamese culture. It is characterised by intricate footwork, expressions, and lyrical movements.
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Dancers wear traditional white costumes with ornate jewellery, and the dance often incorporates implements like cymbals and flutes. Xattriya dance is a mesmerising blend of art and devotion, epitomising the soul of Assam.
Preserving the Legacy of Assamese Folk Dances
In conclusion, the folk dances of Assam are not just artistic expressions but living traditions that connect the people of Assam to their cultural roots. These dances embody the essence of Assamese life, from the vibrancy of Bihu to the spiritual elevation of Sattriya and the cultural diversity celebrated through Bagurumba, Ali Ai Ligang, and many others.
By delving into the world of Assam dance, we gain a deeper appreciation for the state’s rich and diverse heritage. These dances serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving and celebrating our cultural legacy. As Assam continues to evolve, these enchanting rhythms remain an integral part of its identity, captivating hearts and minds with their timeless