Dances of Mizoram State of India


Cheraw: The most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizo iscalled Cheraw. Long bamboo staves are used for this dance, therefore, many people call it Bamboo Dance. Originally, the dance was performed to wish a safe passage and victorious entry into the abode of the dead called Pialral for the soul of a mother, who died at childbirth. Cheraw is a dance of skill and alert minds.


Khuallam: This is a dance performed by a group of dancers, the more the merrier, in colourful profiles to the tune of gongs and drums. Originally it was called a dance performed by honoured invitees while entering into the arena where community feast was held. To attain a position of distinction, a Mizo had to go through a series of ceremonies and perform many feats of heroic deeds. These ceremonies are always accompanied by a feast where friends from nearby villages are invited - hence, Khuallam is the dance for the visitors or guests.


Chheih Lam: Joie de vivre would be the appropriate term to describe Chheih lam, a dance that embodies the spirit of joy and exhilaration. Chheih lam is performed to the accompaniment of a song called Chheih hla. The song is sung to the beats of a drum or bamboo tube or clapping of hands. People squat on the floor in a circle while the dancer stands in the middle reciting a song with various movements of limbs and body. An expert Chheih dancer performs his part in such a manner that the people around him leave their seats and join the dance. Any one can try this dance, for it has no specific choreography. All that one has to do is to get into the mood and live up to it. Chheih lam is performed on any occasion normally in the evenings, when the day's work is over.


Chai: Chai is a festival dance. It is a community dance with men and women standing one after another in a circle, holding each other on the shoulder and the nape. The dancers sway to and from and swing their colourful reception by the village Chief. The celebration consists of a re-enactment of the warrior's herioc exploits. The mode of celebration, however, varies from village to village.


Solakia: Originally, the dance used to be performed mainly by the people of the Maras and Pawi communities of Mizoram. They remain the best exponents of the dance of date. Like Rallu lam, Solakia was also performed in earlier time to celebrate a victory in war. Marked with five principal movements, the dance seeks to recapture the actions of a hero at war. Men and women stand in profile, while the hero, brandishing a sword and a shield, dances in the middle to the accompaniment of gong beats.


Sarlamkai: One of the most impressive Mizo community dances, Sarlamkai is a variation of Solakia. The two dances are almost identical. The only difference lies in the dress and tempo. No song is sung, only gongs or cymbals or drums are used to beat time. Sarlamkai has been taken up by most of the schools on Mizoram for cultural activities these days.


Tlanglam: Tlanglam is performed throughout the length and breadth of the State. Using music of Puma Zai, there have been several variations of the dance. This dance is one of the most popular dances these days by our cultural troupes in various places. Both sexes take part in this dance.


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