Jampui girls performing the Cheraw dance
Cheraw dance is a traditionally ritual dance performed in Mizoram, India, consisting of mostly six to eight people holding a pairs of bamboo staves on another horizontally placed bamboo at the ground. The male performers then clap the bamboos rhythmically while groups of beautiful girls dances in an intricate steps between the beating bamboos . It is one of the most famous and beautiful dances in Mizoram, and a center of attraction during festive occasions. Similar dances are found in the Far East and in the Philippines. In 2010,a Guinness World Record of largest number of cheraw dancers dancing at the same time was made.
The Cheraw dance is characterized by the use of bamboo staves, which are kept in cross and horizontal forms on the ground. While the male dancers move these bamboo staves in rhythmic beats, the female dancers perform by stepping in and out of the bamboo blocks. Recognized as one of the oldest dances of Mizoram, the Cheraw dance has become an integral part of almost every festival of Mizoram.
It is believed that the Cheraw dance originated as early as the 1st century AD. Long bamboo staves are used for this dance, therefore many people call it "Bamboo Dance". Aptly supported by two bases, the bamboos are clapped together on a particular beat by the male dancers. The females who have a perfect sense of timing, dance gracefully by stepping in and out of the crossed and horizontally laid bamboo staves. The dancers move by stepping alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of horizontal bamboos, held against the ground by people sitting face to face on either side. They tap the bamboos in rhythmic beats. The bamboos, placed horizontally, are supported by two bases, one at each end. The bamboos, when clapped, produce a sound which forms the rhythm of the dance. It indicates the timing of the dance as well. The dancers steps in and out to the beats of the bamboos with ease and grace.
The common costumes worn by the female performers during the Cheraw dance Dance include Thihna, Vakiria, Kawrchei and Puanchei. All these traditional costumes of Cheraw Dance come in vibrant colors that further brighten up the surrounding environment.
In the ancient ages, Cheraw dance Dance was performed with the hope of providing solace to soul of a deceased mother who had left her newborn child on earth. However, today, the horizon of Cheraw Dance has expanded considerably. In fact this dance is performed on every big and small occasion by the Mizo of Mizoram.
More often than not the various movements made by the Cheraw dancers are inspired by the nature. While some expressions of Cheraw Dance resemble the swaying of trees some others indicate the flying of birds as well as the harvesting of ripe paddy. There is no denying the fact that Cheraw Dance is surely a most enchanting form of Mizoram culture.
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