Dancing is just like reciting poetry in silence. This invaluable aphorism in the words of Simonides reveals the truth in the traditional dances in the seven sister states of north-east in India. The traditional dances have uniquely preserved the sublimity of expressions in them for generations. Adding elegance to the forms of dances, the dance costumes are brilliant as those bring glory to the rich traditions. The dance costumes carry true ethnicity in the designs that showcase the wonder from past. As the bodies move in tandem with the graceful poses of the dances, the costumes bring true manifestations of bounties of rich culture that the seven sister states have treasured from time immemorial. Carrying the true spirit of unity in diversity, the dances with the radiance of costumes invariably cast their spells on the audience. Moreover, the sparkling costumes match fabulously with the cadenced music, while the audience breaks in to thunderous applause. As the steps in dance forms went into wide variations evolving into more sublimity in expressions, the costumes went through rich makeovers that signaled changes in time.
Let’s cast glances at the traditional dance costumes of north-east that have fascinated people from all-over the world.
Bihu & its magnificent costume
The dance form ‘Bihu’ in Assam has the most energetic steps and fast movement of hands that charm the audience to a great extent. The women dancers draped in chador and mekhela look ravishingly beautiful. As it is common to everyone’s knowledge, Mekhala- a cylindrical shaped cloth- is worn on the lower part of the body, while they drape chador on the upper portion of the body. Women wear a blouse beneath the chador that lends a specific charm to the appeal of femininity in the traditional attire. The fabric in the dance costume consists of pat silk, cotton and muga silk. Jewelry and flowers in hair add more brilliance to the dance costumes. The male dancers of Bihu adorn their bodies with dhotis and gamocha that appear fabulously ethnic.
Related: Deori Bihu of Assam
Bardo Chham and its exceptionally expressive outfit
Dance forms in India have remained uniquely expressive mediums of social upheavals. Bardo Chham is one of the exceptionally creative mediums of dance forms that portray tales of good and evil in Arunachal Pradesh. Being the creative dance form of Sherdukpens tribals, the people of the tribe wear masks to enact the act of win of good over evil. The dance form is one of the art forms of the tribe, where the performers wear masks to playact different animals and they dance to the rhythmic accompaniment of music of drums and cymbals. The dancers portray 12different animals, which represent the evil forces and get together in every month. As a folk dance, this has stayed exceptionally creative and expressive from time immemorial. The dancers wear masks and costumes to show off as different animals. The costumes have the colors of rainbow and those are set in peacock feathers. The skillfully designed ornaments consisting of beads add to the beauty of the costumes.
Related: Mask Dance of Arunachal Pradesh
War Dance & its chivalrous attire
Although the statehood of Nagaland has different rich forms of dance, ‘war dance’ is most famous amongst all the forms. The dancers bring in to play the artistic, skilful, and perilous moves that the heroes enact during the war. Although the dance thrills one and all, the performers need excellent expertise that could come only after years of practice and perseverance. The Naga residents wear their traditional war type attire. To add to it, the dancers also put ornaments to the costumes, while they bring alive the motions of bravery and chivalry.
Related: Dance Like We Do!
Shad Sukmynsiem or Weiking dance & its Celestial robe
Come to the wonderland of traditional folk dances and lustrous beauty of Meghalaya, where the visitors could take the pleasure of several folk dances. Popular as ‘Shad weiking’ or ‘shad suk Mynesiem, literally the dance means ‘dance of the blissful heart’. Organized in the month of April for consecutive three days, this dance competition stays open to all unmarried males and females. The beautiful costume for men is impressive as they wear dhoti, plumed turban, and coats. The maidens appear prettier by donning beautiful silk robes as they become angels.
Manipur Dance & its highly divine attire
As the statehood of Manipur offers the highly divine classical dance form Manipur, the geographically prosperous boundaries of the state is highly acclaimed for its excellence of dance and culture. The dance form is extremely spiritual and it is an important part of religious fervor during the festivals. Considered as the purest, self-effacing, and mildest dance form, it is one of most meaningful dances of India. The costume is extremely brilliant as the females wear colonial cap made of black velvet fitted with synthetic pearls covering their faces with thin veils. Now-a-days, modern dancers have replaced their caps with buns and bedecked their hair with magnificent flowers. Their tight-fitting costumes are magnificently laced with golden embroidery. The attire looks mellowed with the flounced skirt with varied colors. The border of the skirt is wide with the design of sequins. Moreover, small mirrors get placed throughout the skirt. The male dancers don dhoti with embroidered bands falling over their chests extending up to their posteriors.
Related: Types of Manipuri Dances
Cheraw & its ritualistic outfit
The rhythmic dancing over the bamboo staves has even been featured in the Hindi movies time and again. Being one of the distinguished dance forms of Manipur, it also finds its similar forms in Far East and Philippines. The Cheraw dance is popular because of the bamboo staves. The staves get arranged in horizontal and cross forms over the ground as the male dancers move over the bamboo staves rhythmically, while the female dancers display their dancing skills by jumping in and out of the bamboo staves. The costumes for the female dancers are available in four types, such as Thinna, Vakiria, Karchei, and Puanchei as all these are available in dazzling colors. Mixed together, the colors of the costumes and grace of movement in the dance bring the fertile imaginations of birds flying in the open sky or trees getting swayed in the movement of winds. The dance form is a rich and sweet portrayal of nature.
Lebang Bumani & its buoyant outfit
Lebang Bumani is a merry-making dance form to commemorate the occasion of harvest. Both men and women participate in this dance. The women wear silver chains and bangles and bronze ear and nose rings. While the males use bamboo clappers, the women wave their scarves to flush out lebangs (grasshoppers)- the insects, which arrive at the time of harvest. The colorful costumes of men and women have vibrant colors as men wear dhoti and colored kurtas. The women don sarees and coats on their bodies that lend grace and beauty.