It is said that the Naga dance reminds one of the glorious past when Orissa had a great empire extending from Ganga River to Kaveri River and when the Oriyas were heroic people fighting against foreign invasion for centuries. The dancer is dressed up in full ancient military regalia. He carries a sword, an iron shield, a gun, a horn used as a whistle, bow and arrow, tiger skin, a bell etc. This dance is not accompanied by any song. This dance is prevalent in Puri.
The 'Ghumra' is a kind of drum which produces a deep musical sound. Singers sing and dance to the tune of Ghumra at social functions and religious festivals. Sometimes a competition is held between two parties. Each party consists of twenty to twenty-five men. The dance is held whole night. It begins fifteen days before the Gahma Purnima. Young boys carry Ghumra and dance. The dance is confined to the males alone. This dance is prevalent in the districts of Kalahandi, Balangir and Sambalpur.
Danda Nata Dance
It is one of the ancient folk-dance forms of Odisha which evolved from religious rituals. Lord Shiva is the main deity of Danda Nata and this dance form is said to have originated in the age of Tantrism. Nowadays as an interlude Kela-Keluni is used in this dance format.
Dalkhai dance is the most popular folk dance of western Odisha. Women are the main dancers in Dalkhai. Men join them as drummers and musicians. During Dussehra, Bhai Jauntia, Phagun Purnima and other festive days, this dance is performed.
In Odisha, it is closely associated with the worship of Goddess Sarala. Patuas are of four kinds. The dance is performed on themes borrowed from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Indian Puranas or from the local poets. By way of fulfilment of some Brata (penance) they walk on fire of burning coal known as Jhamu. 'Ghanta Patua' is a stilt dance. The performer is called Sevaka (Servant of the Goddess). He dresses himself as woman. They dance with the sound of Ghanta, a brass flat percussion and Dhol. They continue for about a month and return to the Goddess before Chaitra Purnima when the festival begins.
Chaiti Ghoda Nata Dance
Chaiti Ghoda Nata dance is performed during Chaitra Purnima by the fisherman community of Orissa. Fishermen worship their Goddess 'Baseli' on that day. Ghoda Nata means horse dance. For this dance, a hollow body of a horse is made with bamboo and is covered with bright coloured clothes. The male dancer is called 'Routa' and the female dancer is called 'Rautani'. Their dancing movement stimulates the strides of a horse.
Paika Nritya is the war dance. In Oriya, the word 'Paika' means 'soldier'. This dance is famous in Khordha district. Each village has their own 'Paika Akhada' where they practise their dance. They come to the stage one by one in quick order with sword and shield in hand. They start dance with the rhythm of drum, Tikura and Changu (played with sticks). They display the tricks of attacking enemies and playing defence. They dance in two groups, one playing the attacking group and the other playing the defensive group.
'Mukha' or mask is used in this kind of dance. The most popular Mukha dance is Bagha Nacha. A person paints his body like that of a tiger, wears a tail at the back and a mask of the tiger on head. There is no song. It is a kind of mime. The dancer dances to the tune of Dhol and Changu.
Jhumar is the oldest folk-dance of Mayurbhanj district. This dance is performed mostly in social functions. One female dancer dances to the tune of Mardala, Dhamsa and Chad Chadi. Modern instruments like Dugi, Violin and flute are occasionally used.
Ogala or Kathi Nach
The Gopal (cowherd) community of Orissa perform this dance. This is held during the 'Dola' festival (spring festival). Gopal boys dance while striking sticks in a rhythmical pattern. All of them sing while they dance. Only the horn is blown in regular intervals. They sing the glories of Lord Krishna. The singing part is called 'Ogala'.
Chhau dance is the most typical among the folk dances of Orissa. Chhau dance was developed under the patronage of different royal dynasties. Most of the tunes of this dance are traditional and folk which are played on Mahuri, various types of drums, namely, Dhumsa, Nagara, Dhol, Chadchadi.
Other Folk dances in Odisha
Other folk dances in Odisha include Keisabadi, Karma Nach, Dhap dance, Gotipua, Gunchikuta, Bayamana, Maila Jada, Jaiphul, Rasarkeli, Bhekani, Daika, Chhata, Sajani, Dauligit, Humobauli and Chhiollai.
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