Renowned for being extremely “joyous” is a dance form belonging to the northeast of India referred to as the Bihu Dance. This “folk” dance has originated from the state of Assam, and is supposed to have been created during reign of King of Ahom (i.e. Assam) Rudra Singha. In addition, this dance essentially comprises of rapid feet and hand movements. Furthermore, this folk dance is performed mainly during the renowned “Three Bihu festivals” celebrated in a grand manner by Assamese living in within the state as well as overseas.
a. History/origin of the Bihu dance:
According to the culture of Assam, this folk dance was essentially created to celebrate the “three Bihu festival” which apparently comprises of three individual festivals. They include
- Rongali Bihu: Also known as “Bohag Bihu” which basically marks the beginning of a new year for Assamese. It is a period where paddy seeds are first sown in farms thus indicating the beginning of the harvesting season.
- Bhoghali Bhiu: Also known as “Magh Bihu” which basically involves celebration of food. It is a period that indicates the end of the harvesting season.
- Kongali Bihu: Also known as “Kati Bihu” which essentially represents the end of the sowing period of the paddies.
b. Costumes used in the Bihu dance:
Since this dance form can be performed by both male and female, the costume worn varies as follows:
1. For males:
The attire worn includes, a cotton dhoti that covers the lower part of the body while, the upper part of the body remains uncovered. In addition, a “gamocha” is used as a headgear or at times may even be tied at the waist.
2. For females:
The attire includes, a traditionally used garment known as “Mekhala” which covers the lower part of the body while, a “chaddar” is used to cover the upper part of the body. In addition, jewellery and flowers also form an integral component of the costume.
c. Music involved in the Bihu dance:
Music plays a major role in this folk dance and involves the use of many major local instruments such as dhol, pepa, taal, toka , xutuli, gogona, and baanhi.
d. Training availability and dance technique involved in the Bihu dance:
The dance is performed by both male and females essentially to celebrate the arrival of spring. In terms of the technique, this dance form involves rapid and fluid movements of the both the hands and the feet performed in complete synch with the accompanying music. As for training centres/schools with regards to this folk dance, there are none available since it has essentially been passed on from one generation to another.
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