DANCE BEHIND MASK

 

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When we think about physical activity; first thing that pop up in our mind is jogging, running, weight training, DANCING and a huge amount of workout which we can get just by a click. If you are someone who obsessed  with workout and try something new with your body you can think about weight training , swimming , boxing, outdoor games, aerobics, even martial arts. Did you ever thought about something beyond this. I mean to say something i.e. mixture of these known styles, like what if we mix aerobics and martial art,

Think……………..

240_F_68418296_9nCpKhOMpe1ZBntYSuz9KZq6Y6t27Ga7.jpg Think……………..

Think……………..

Think……………..

Think……………..

Think……………..

Think……………..

OK, so the answer is ‘CHHAU DANCE’ -The dance ranges from celebrating martial arts, acrobatics and athletics performed in festive themes .

Originally Chhau dance, also spelled as Chau or Chhau, is a semi classical indian dance with martial, tribal and folk origins.  with origins in the eastern indian states of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. It is found in three styles named after the location where they are performed, i.e. the Purulia Chau of Bengal, the Seraikella Chau of Jharkhand, and the Mayurbhanj Chau of  Odisha.

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It is a structured dance with religious themes found in Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnibism. The costumes vary between the styles, with Purulia and Serakeilla using masks to identify the character. The stories enacted by Chhau dancers include those from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Puranas and other Indian literature.The dance is traditionally an all males troupe, regionally celebrated particularly during spring every year.

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Vaishnibism
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Shaivism
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Shaktism

The Chhau dance found in northern Orissa does not use mask during the dance, but they do when the artists first appear on the stage for introduction to the audience.

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Masks form an integral part of Chhau dance in Purulia and Seraikella styles. The knowledge of dance, music and mask-making is transmitted orally.

The most interesting fact, Purulia Chhau Dance is listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list of dances.

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The main difference between the Purulia chhau and Odisha chhau is in the use of the mask. Purulia chhau used the mask in dance, but Odisha does not have the mask thereby adding facial expression with body movement and gesture.

Traditionally, the chhau dance held in the mid march when one agricultural circle end and a new circle begins. Purulia chhau dancer were the earthy and theatrical mask which represent the mythological characters. After making the shape of mask with clay, it is coloured and decorated with Shola and other things.

These chhau masks are made by the artists from the Sutradhar community. The making of a mask goes through various stages. 8-10 layers of soft paper, immersed in diluted glue, are pasted one after another on the mould before the mud mould is dusted with fine ash powder. The facial features are made of clay. A special layer of mud and cloth is applied and the mask is then sun-dried. After this, the mould is polished and the second round of sun drying is done before separating the layers of cloth and paper from the mould. After finishing and drilling of holes for the nose and eyes, the mask is colored and decorated.

 

The Hindi film BARFI ,has several scenes that features the Purulia Chhau in it. The  Hindi film Lootera opens with a Chhau dance sequence inspired by the Ramayana.

 

 

 

The dance is performed by male dancers, at night in an open space, called akhada or asar. The dance is rhythmic and set to traditional folk music, played on the reed pipes mohuri and shehnai A variety of drums accompany the music ensemble including the dhol(a cylindrical drum), dhumsa (a large kettle drum) and kharka or chad-chadi. The themes for these dances include local legends, folklore and episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other abstract themes.

 

 

 

 

Shehnai.jpg
Sehnai

 

In spite of all these mixture and richness of unique tradition and cultural background of Chhaw dance , this dance form is now in danger. Though the chhaw community of Mayurbhanj and Seraikella are in better position because royal families of those community participate regularly and they look after at it.But still they are unhappy because of state government’s step toward their establishment.

BUT, the most unique chhaw form of Purulia where chhaw dancers are below the poverty line are in danger. Maximum of their community can’t even afford their own daily life.The help of state government they get from state government is not sufficient for their improvement.If this condition continued soon the culture will extinct.

 

 

Dhol

In spite of all these mixture and richness of unique tradition and cultural background of Chhaw dance , this dance form is now in danger. Though the chhaw community of Mayurbhanj and Seraikella are in better position because royal families of those community participate regularly and they look after at it.But still they are unhappy because of state government’s step toward their establishment.

BUT, the most different chhaw form of Purulia where chhaw dancers are below the poverty line are in danger. Maximum of their community can’t even afford their own daily life.The help of state government they get from state government is not sufficient for their improvement.If this condition continued, soon the culture will extinct.

 

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