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Tribal Dances

  Tribal Dances
Tribal Dances -

Some of the famous tribal dances of Orissa are mentioned in the description that follows :
The Juang dance which goes by the popular name of "Changu dance" is performed by both men and women. Besides, they perform other types of dances such as deer dance, elephant dance, bow dance, pigeon dance, bear dance, koel dance and peacock dance. They dance and sing when they are in happy mood. The dance also forms an integral part of their social and ritual festivals. The Juang do not have any special dress for dancing. While dancing the girls stand in a straight line in front of the boys. While the dance goes on, the line becomes semicircular. The girls hold each other's wrist or hand-in-hand and move forward and backward in bending posture. The boys stand in a straight line which becomes a curve during dance. The musical instruments which are used during their dance are Badakatha (Drum), Dhola (Small drum), Madala and Changu (Tambourine).

The Saoras do not dance frequently as the Juangs and the Gadabas do. The Saora dance is very simple and lack all the artistic exuberances. Generally the Saoras dance during ceremonies and festivals, marriages, and when some important person visits their village. In their dance, group of men and women jumble up together and while dancing the drummers and the dancers advance towards each other alternatively with the rhythm of the music. Colourful costumes are worn during the dance. Other decorations include feathers of white fowl and peacock plumes. Besides, old coloured cloths of cotton and silk are tied as turbans by men and wrapped around their chest by women. While dancing they carry swords, sticks, umbrellas and other implements and blow whistles and make peculiar sounds. The musical instruments used at the time of dance consist of drums of various sizes, brass cymbals, brass-gongs and hide-gongs.

Among the Gonds of Koraput, dance is performed throughout the year. Besides this, dances are performed on special communal occasions like marriage. The boys dress themselves with colourful aprons and turbans during the dance. The turbans are adorned with "cowrie" shells and the apron is adorned with small pieces of mirror. The girls are dressed in hand-woven sarees and silver ornaments. A dancing group is ordinarily formed with 20 to 30 persons of both sexes. Only unmarried boys and girls participate in the dance. The musical instruments are played by boys. Two boys lead the dance with wooden drums. The girls dance in circles with simple steps of one and two, very often bending their bodies forward. The steps of the boys are more varied and subtle.

Dance among the Koyas is richly varied and sophisticated. The most important occasion for dancing is the worship of the mother goddess in the month of Chaitra (April-May). Ordinarily both boys and girls participate in dancing but the girls are more conspicuous. However, in the festival only girls participate. During the dance, the girls keep rhythm by beating sticks on the ground which are fitted with small bells. Dance groups are formed by about 30 to 40 persons. The most conspicuous movement about Koya dance is the complicated winding and unwinding of circles formed by girls.

Gadaba dance is performed by women who wear the famous "Keranga" sarees and have their distinctive hair style. The men play the musical instruments. Chaitra and Pausa are the dancing seasons. The Gadaba women dance in semi-circles with steps of three and four which they gradually change to eight. The body is often bent forward. Very skillful moves are made on the heels.

Kondh dance is mostly confined to unmarried boys and girls and free mixing of the sexes is allowed during dancing. The dances are performed especially when the boys or girls of one village visit another village. The dance forms an item in the daily routine of the Kondh, when the boys and girls in their dormitories meet after the day's toil. No instrument accompanies the dance of the Kondhs of Koraput. The girls dance in lines and the boys dance behind and in front of them. The dance of the Phulbani Kondh is more colourful. The girls wear sarees in two pieces and bangles on their ankles. They dance in rows, facing rows of boys who sing songs and play on hand drums. Songs play a very important part in the dance. Special dances are performed during buffalo sacrifice, called the Kedu festival.

The dance of the Oraons of Sundargarh and Bolangir districts is performed in front of the village dormitories. The boys and girls participate in the dance. The line of dancers go round and round headed by the leading dancers.

The Parajas dance during the Chaitra parba, the dance often lasting from dusk to dawn. The girls wear colourful handwoven sarees; silver and brass jewellery; and hold a bunch of peacock feathers in their hands. The movements are extremely graceful and the music is provided by the drum, flute and the "Dudunga" - a country-made string instrument.