Folk dance of Nagaland
forms the main component of the traditional culture of the people of Nagaland in India. Folk dances of Nagaland are performed mainly in a synchronized manner in groups by women as well as men, based on the kind of dance. Dances are generally performed in religious and festive occasions. Mainly the Naga men perform war dances. This dance is martial and athletic in style. All the folk dances of Nagaland are performed along with war cries and songs by the dancers. There are several folk dances in Nagaland which are generally performed at the time of harvest. The folk dances of this state are filled with frolic and fun since these dances are performed when the people of Nagaland are enjoying a special event. Each Naga tribe has its own dance, but they have a common feature. All the folk dances of Nagaland require the using of legs while keeping the body in an upright position.
Folk Dance of Zeliang Tribe in Nagaland
It is noticed in a majority of the cases that the folk dances of Nagaland are performed predominantly by males. However, the Zeliang tribe of Nagaland permits their women to take part in the folk dances with men. During a performance, the participants start entering slowly into the stage or arena with some distinctive movements and stand making a circle or other geometrical shape. After that, the dancers adjust the beats and then start dancing by stamping the foot on a continuous pace. The dances of this tribe are interspersed by chanting some set words in chorus and the clapping of hands. These shouting and chanting provides inspiration to every member of the group.
After forming a circle, the dances make attack on the opposite party or an imaginary enemy with the spears which they hold in their hands. They swing these weapons as per the rhythm of dance, in order to create a beautiful musical background. The Nagas dress themselves in ceremonial war-type costume and brass and silver ornaments and other ornaments made of iron in order to beautify their look in the dance. As a result of the regional differences, some changes of very small quantity there observed in the pattern of dance among the Nagas. In general, this dance involves the upright body position at upper part, while the unbent or straight knees always keep equilibrium of movements.
After attaining the climax, again the tempo is brought down and it is thus accompanied by a great increase in shouts, calls and cries. No musical instrument is used in any folk dance of Nagaland.
Folk Dance of Zemis Tribe in Nagaland
The Zemis belonging to the North Cachar hills district
possesses several forms of dances performed on a number of ceremonies, and each of the dances possess a separate name. These dances are sometimes segregated with regard to the steps of dance, after its similarity with insects, birds or even animals. Some of them are Nruirolians or cock dance which corresponds to the attribute of a cock, Gethinglim or cricket dance in which there is the to and fro movement of hands, etc.
Men generally perform the dances which include the Temangnetin or the fly dance or the Hetateulee or bear dance only, with the company of music and songs. Music played includes cymbals, beaten in regular intervals as the singers stand along one side or make a circle in order to provide space for the dancers performing at centre.
In some areas of Nagaland, the folk dances are performed in the time of celebration of the Nagada festival on the festival`s fifth day. This day is mainly devoted to various cultural activities. On this particular day, all Nagas dress themselves in their traditional costumes and travel to the village. With the movement of dancers from Khel to Khel, and their visit to each Renis or morung by performing their dance, the entire population applaud them and the Naga women offer Zeru, i.e. meat, rice-beer, etc to the dancers. Traditional Naga dance is performed by men during Hornbill festival, initiated by a message in order to conserve the Hornbill. Hornbill is Nagaland`s state bird.
The folk dances of Nagaland include war dances and these dances present a rich form of folk art in Nagaland, where the Naga dancers decorate themselves with ornaments. However, the dances comprise of several motions representing mock war which could be very grievous, if not performed carefully, while performing. Several occasions like marriages, festivals, harvests or even a number of ordinary moments of joy are some of the options where the Nagas celebrate their dances.