The Cheraw Kan or Bamboo Dance of Nagaland is one of the most vibrant and rhythmic dance forms in India. It is so popular in the state, that it is performed for most of the festive occasions in front of a large crowd. The unique features of this dance are the steady beats, bamboo sticks and the expertise of the dancers themselves.
The men and women performing the bamboo dance are very distinctively dressed in traditional attire. The female dancers are dressed in long sleeved white blouses with a plaid red, black and green design and a wrap around skirt with a similar colour scheme. The male performers wear plaid white and red dhotis tucked up till the knees and short sleeved checked white shirts. One of the most attractive features of the bamboo dance costume is the head gear of the women, which is made up of red feathers that stand upright. The men also wear a wrapped cloth bandanna on their head.
Related: Colorful Dance Forms Of Nagaland
How is the Bamboo dance performed?
The male and female dancers have different roles in the Bamboo dance. The men crouch on the floor with the bamboo staves and move them in a particular set rhythm. There is a clapping sound created as they strike the bamboo sticks against each other repeatedly. The well-coordinated female dancers move in and out of the spaces created as the sticks are pulled part and brought together again.
It is a delight to watch as the women keep perfect time with the music and the beats of the bamboo staves. Their movements are inspired by nature, like the swaying of a tree or the flight of a bird. A drum and a gong are two traditional musical instruments that are also played during the Bamboo dance.
When is the bamboo dance performed?
The bamboo dance is performed on festive occasions. Individual families also perform this dance to mark a surplus harvest, known as “Buhza Ai”. The bamboo dance is often performed under moonlight, which creates a pleasant and cheerful ambience.
Related: Yemshe Harvest Festival of Pochury Nagas
The bamboo dance is a graceful, traditional dance of Nagaland. It reflects the culture of this region and the enthusiastic spirit of the native people. Colourful and rhythmic, this is a folk dance that you must try to witness at least once in your lifetime.