Performance of Kathi Dance
It is usually performed by men in a group and the songs bear the stories of the daily occupations of villagers. The dance exhibits the skilful exposition of the rhythmic foot-work which is accompanied by the beating of sticks by the performers. These dances are repetitive in nature and the rhythm of the dance is maintained by performing for long periods. The dancers form several postures threaded by the feet following a rough outline of a circle. The dancers first pair with their right neighbours and then with their left neighbours subsequently forming and reforming the circle. While dancing the performers beat the sticks ceaselessly in a rhythmic tone in accompaniment of the moving of the feet. The Kathi dance is an amalgamation of various interesting movements and some of the movements resemble that of a war. While dancing, the participants also make huge shouts like those used in battles.
There are many variations in this dance. The most interesting among them is when a dancer steps out of the group of performers and places him in the centre of the ring. There he keeps dancing revolving ceaselessly all the while stroking his sticks and beating his feet. The sticks used in the dance are considered as the weapons used earlier and the person in the centre of the ring is assumed to the victim. This dance is quite popular at the time of Durga Puja and is exhibited in various parts of West Bengal. During this festival, the performers also carry lamps while dancing.
Costume of Kathi dance
The performers of this dance dress themselves in shirts made out of leopard skin and dhotis. They also adorn their legs with heavy anklets. These anklets emit a rhythmic sound which goes well with the folk songs, drums and sticks.
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