The various popular folk dances are as follows -
Paika Akhada: Paika Akhada is the traditional folk dance form. This dance pattern is attributed to the Bali ant militia known as the Paikas. During ancient time the Paikas were the warriors who fought for their kingdom. The Samartarang of Barjanath badjana depicts the courage of this martial class. The descendents of those fighters are scattered in the rural areas of the Dhenkanal District. During the festival of Dussehra, near about 200 groups of Paikas congregate at Sura Pratap ground to exhibit this age old martial tradition.
Gopala Laudi: This dance pattern is popular among the gopalas of the district. A group of 12 to 16 persons dressed with attractive costumes performs this traditional dance. A set of wooden sticks is also required. The singer sings the songs of the cow herd boys. This depicts the dance and playfulness of Lord Krishna and his mates. This dance form is mainly performed during Dol purnima.
Danda Nacha: This is the most popular form of folk dance. Danda Nacha has a spiritual background. In the month of Baisakh the devotees observe a spiritual ritual and observe fasting. During the fasting they worship a stick known as Danda at the temple of their Goddess. Danda Nacha reflects different aspects of the life of the rural folk.
Gumura: Dhenkanal District has a special type of Ghumura dance. Generally, four to ten persons dance to the tune of 'Gumura'- an ancient musical instrument made of a medium sized earthen pot covered with goat skin.
Changu: The Juangas perform the Changu dance. Changu is an instrument in which goat skin is covered over a wooden structure. The Juangs having a group of 10 to 15 men and women dance together while the musicians play the Changu. Changu dance is performed in several occasions like marriage, harvesting festivals and birthday and so on.
Odissi Kirtan: Unlike the Nadia Kirtan where the singers, musicians and the participants dance, the participants of Odissi Kirtan sit in a row and perform the Kirtan. They sing the 'Odissi Bhajans' in pure Odissi style by following 'raga' and 'talas'. Odissi Kirtan is performed in the occasions like 'Dol Purnima' 'Gamha Purnima', 'Snana Purnima', 'Ratha Yatra' and many other socio religious functions.
Dhuduki Nacha: 'Dhuduki Nacha' is displayed by two or more persons. The players use an instrument known as 'Dhuduki' which is made of a medium sized wooden drum cover with iguana skin and a wooden bar in the middle of the drum tied with metal string. The 'Dhuduki' dancers dressed with attractive costumes sing and dance and at the intervals play their 'Dhuduki'.
Kendera Gita: The Yogis or the Nathas sect play the Kendera while begging. Kendera is a small musical instrument like violin.
Kandhei Nacha: There are 'Kandhei Nacha' groups or Puppet Theatres at Bhapur. This art form based on the preparation of puppets of different characters. The theatre group moves from one place to another. They prepare a temporary stage and perform some historical, social plays through the puppets. The puppets are controlled by threads connected with the fingers of the puppet artists behind the back drop.
Ghoda Nacha: 'Ghoda Nacha is a popular folk dance in Dhenkanal. Generally the fishermen perform this dance. A male member of the team enters in a wooden structure of a horse and holds it around his waist looking as if riding the horse. He dances with a female partner with the music of trumpet and drum. Both the partner asks witty questions to each other in their songs. When the male asks the question the female replies and it continues vice-versa.
Mahila Palla: 'Palla' is an age old performing art. Years ago only males used to perform this dance form. But with time females have started participating. The Mahila Palla is performed exclusively by the females. The Gayika, the Baika, the Palia and the Siri Palia all are females. The Mahila Palla groups are found at Kamakhyanagar, Jamuna Kot, Gondia and Sadar Block.
These dance forms of Dhenkanal District have kept the rich inherited tradition alive.
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