In the heart of India, Himachal resides with all the colors and beauty of Nature. So are the traditions and festivals accompanied by groups of people. Such are the people known for their peculiar and joyfulness, creating an epic environment for a good living. The themes and styles of their dance and music are all inspired by the mythology and historical characters of Ramayana and Mahabharata. All of their folklores and vivid art forms are culture-based defining their holy deity or fears or bravery with each tale. The traditional dance form is all based on their apprehended culture and stories inspired by their regional history. Hence this place of beautiful people and tremendous history has many dance forms, few of which are mentioned below:
– Chham Dance
– Chhanak Chham
– Dandras Dance
– Kullu Nati
– Lahauli Dance
– Losar Shona Chuksam
– Nati Dance
– Thoda Dance
Popularly known as devil dance, performed by the monks of Himachal Pradesh known as Lamas. It is performed during the festivals and celebrations inside the Buddhist monasteries by these monks. The history behind this dance form is to exorcise the evil spirits around them. The dance theme twirls around killing the ‘Evil King’, who is symbolic of evil tendencies in humans, natural calamities, diseases, and epidemics. Big headgears, peculiar costumes, oversized masks with weird expressions and monstrous appearances, this dance style makes it famous by all these elements.
A devotional dance form, performed by the Lamas of Spiti region in Himachal, this dance form is performed on a special festival occasion known as Chakhar. This dance is a thoroughgoing tribute to Lord Buddha with holy intentions. Popularized by the peculiar headgears and costume drama, typically adorned by the people of Himachal. The whole ensemble art is made of golden, black and yellow fabric, embellished with unique traditional motifs done in patchwork. Dancers embrace half of their face with black cloth and carry swords or knives in their hands. The Dance rhythm and pace is slow with circular movements where the musicians wear the traditional dress of the Lamas, with caps adorned with yellow feathers, and play long pipes, known as ‘Tangchim’, and drums, known as ‘Ghhan’.
3. Dandras Dance:
Particularly famous in the Bahrmaur region of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. Dandras or Dangi dances are celebratory dance forms, performed during weddings and festivals during Jatara by the Gaddi women, in lines and semi-circular patterns. Accompanied by the singing of the love ballads of Sunni and Bhukhu, the dancers join hands and stimulate by the twists and turn in this rhythmic and graceful dance. The specialty of this dance is it performed with small sticks in hands and presented by the graceful movements which can last for hours.
4. Kullu Nati:
As the name suggests this dance form is famous in the region of Kullu which is performed by a group of people. This dance generally depicts the lifestyle of the people who live in the hills, hence a typical Pahari style. The dance is performed in peculiar and dramatic movements with similar attires shower all the joy and happiness of the tribe. Besides, beautiful swaying dance movements, the Kullu Nati dance were also recorded in the Guinness Book of world records in the year 2016. Here men and women are equally involved in the performance, no practice of bias caste or gender discrimination, hence is an inspiration for many. In the form of rows and circular movements, this dance can go for hours and hours. With the traditional attires and musical instruments like Narsingha, Karnal, Shehnai, Dhol, and Nagara this dance continues as a long-time performance.
5. Lahauli Dance:
Going above the altitudes of Himachal, Lahauli is a dance form performed in the region of Ladakh. As a ritual of the hilly region, it is a joyful traditional dance form involves music instruments known as Surna and Damman gracefully performed by the group of people in that region. The costumes are embellished with jewels, beads, and stones. Artwork of these antiques is created and adorned on the borders of their garments. Long gowns, with embroidery work and oversized headgears, this dance is complemented by the people of Himachal Pradesh.
6. Losar Shona Chuksam:
A special New Year celebration is done in the form of dance, Losar Shona Chuksam is a dance belongs to the Kinnaura community from the Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh. The graceful dance form with slow movements depicting the sowing and reaping of ‘ogla’ (barley) and ‘phapar’ (a local grain). A simple harvesting celebration with slow and graceful soft-knee dips with striking features explore this dance. The performance is performed with the music of instruments like big ‘dhol’ (drum), ‘bugjal’ (bronze cymbals), ‘karnal’ (long windpipe) and the ‘ransingha’ (a curved trumpet). There is no vocal sound at all in this performance, hence makes it just movements and grace.
7. Nati Dance:
Famous folk dance of the upper Himachal region, Nati is followed by the people from ages. A huge group of people wearing their traditional costumes with many folk musical instruments this dance is performed. With big circular movements and joining hands this performance won the world record in the year 2016. All of the performances include unique music and costumes accompanied by the rhythm and postures.
8. Thoda Dance:
The historical performance marched during wars now depicts the history which used to be a ritual before the battle. Thoda dance is implementing and encouraging bravery performed in a group of people. The quick movements and unique costumes giving a touch of culture and bravery make a unique sight for viewers. Narrating and performing incidents happened during the wartime or in the battles, this dance form is a unique patent of Himachal Pradesh.
Hence, the variety, but the beauty of this place is filled with innocence and real-time experiences. As the beauty encircles the state, the people are as humble and creative in nature. Only trying to keep their culture alive, Himachal Pradesh is the biggest of the hotspot of India across the world.