(Last Updated on : 30/09/2014)
Khemta dance was a popular dance of the West Bengal
state of India which was in vogue almost thirty or forty years ago. This dance was quite into practice during those days but later receded into oblivion and presently it is no more performed. This was basically a devotional dance which was usually performed by professional women dancers. But in some areas eunuchs were also associated with it and it is they who are still keeping this art alive.
The main focus of the Khemta dance was to provide entertainment through mythological stories. This entertaining dance may also be called the rural version of the urban dance of baijis or professional women dancers.
Performance of Khemta Dance
The Khemta dance was usually performed in a group. But this dance had flexibility like in some stanzas at a time one dancer used to perform while the others waited till their turns came.
The performance of Khemta dance used to take place in the courtyards of the houses of big zamindars (landlords), Barwaritolas (open green space in a village
) and Natmandirs (dancing halls in the temple premises).
The songs of Khemta dance were based on the romantic episodes of Lord Krishna
. The chief attraction of the Khemta dance was the intricate movement of the feet which required great nimbleness and practice. Another main attraction of this dance was the eye movements and other body parts movements which demanded huge skills and expertise.
Musical Instruments of Khemta Dance
Various musical instruments
were used to accompany this age old dance form. The orchestra included a set of tablas
, and two sarangis
. Later another instrument was added which was the harmonium
Costumes of Khemta Dance
The female dancers used to decorate themselves with gorgeous saris
and varieties of jewelleries
like bangles, necklaces, ear-rings, and the 'sinthi' which is a gold pendant worn on the forehead and is attached across the head with a gold
Popularity of Khemta Dance
This form of dance was very popular during the celebration of births and marriages. It was also performed at festivals like Durga Puja
and Dol Jatra.