Performance of Sammi Dance
The performance of sammi dance is like that of Giddha dance and it is practiced only by women. The dancers stand in a circular mode and swing their hands, bringing them up from the sides, right in front up to the chest level and clap: they take their hands down in accordance with the rhythm and clap again. Repeating this gesture, they bend forward and clap again and go round and round in a circle. As the rhythm is maintained with the beat of the feet, various swinging movements are performed with the arms. Most of the gestures are confined to the movement of the arms, by clicking and clapping.
No instrument is used for an accompaniment to this dance, since the rhythm is achieved through beating of the feet and clapping. Chutki is also used to keep the beat in this dance. Chutki is a frictional sound of single note created by pressing and then sliding the thumb and the index or the middle finger. The background song of this dance is also called sammi. This is also a dance of controlled movements and it is said that even the Devtas (angels) get intoxicated while seeing this dance.
Costume of Sammi Dance
The costume of Sammi dance is traditional and colourful. The performers wear a kurta and the tehmet (lower cloth) and cover their head with a thick cloth of loose rectangular dimension, called 'Bhochhan'. They do special kind of make-up and knit their hair in a distinct way. The performers knit their hair into thin plaits all over their head into intricate patterns and tie the remaining length of the hair in one full plait. In the middle of their head they fix a special ornament shaped like an inverted lotus called phul-chowk or Suggiphul (flower of the crossings of the plaits).
Popularity of Sammi Dance
Despite so colourful in its performance as well as costume, sammi dance of Punjab has not been able to gain popular acceptance and is breathing its last in the huts of the tribal communities. The women of Baazigars, Rai Sikhs, Lobanas and Sansi tribes are trying hard to keep this traditional folk dance alive.
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