people have a number of dances which are accompanied with few musical
instrument like the gong
Khuallam: Khuallam literary means 'Dance of the Guests'.
It is a dance usually performed in the ceremony called 'Khuangchawi'.
In order to claim a distinguished place in the society and to have
a place in paradise or Pialral one has to attain the coveted title
of 'Thangchhuah'. There are two ways of attaining this title. Firstly
one could attain the title Thangchhuah by proving one's mettle in
war or in hunting by killing many animals which should include animals
like barking, deer, wild boar, bear, wild gayal, viper, hawk etc.
Secondly one could also get the title of Thangchhuah by performing
feats and dances.
Thangchhuah therefore could be attained only by the brave or by
the rich. The ceremonies performed in the second method are known
as Khuangchawi. Guests invited from the other villages at the Khuangchawi
ceremony enter the arena dancing Khuallam. Traditional hand woven
Mizo cloth known as Puandum is wrapped over the shoulders and the
dance is performed by swaying the cloth. Puandum has the colors
black, red, yellow and green stripes. Significantly Puandum is an
indispensable item which every girl has to take along with when
she gets married. It is used when her husband dies to cover the
dead body. As most other folk dances of the Mizos, this dance is
accompanied by a set of gongs known as Darbu and no song is sung.
It is generally performed in large numbers.
Cheraw is a very old traditional dance of the Mizos. It is believed
that the dance had already existed way back in the 1st Century A.D.,
while the Mizos were still somewhere in the Yunan Province of China,
before their migration into the Chin Hills in the 13th Century A.D.,
and eventually to the present Mizoram. Some of the tribes living
in South East Asia have similar dances in one form or the other
with different names.
Cheraw' is usually performed on the occasion of 'Buhza Aih' (bumper
harvest by an individual family). It is not a community dance but
a dance performed by a few selected girls with exceptional skills.
It is performed in marriage ceremonies and on the merry-makings
to celebrate success. On such occasions huge crowds gather to watch
the proud performance of 'Cheraw' dance by the few skillful dancers.
It is also performed on moonlit nights. 'Cheraw' is the most popular
and colorful dance of the Mizos.
Men sitting face to face on the ground tap long pairs of horizontal
and cross bamboo staves open and close in rhythmic beats. Girls
in colorful Mizo costumes of 'Punchei', 'Kawrchei'. Vakiria' and
'Yhihna' dance in and out between the beats of bamboo. This dance
is now performed in almost all festive occasions. The unique style
of the 'Cheraw' is a great fascination everywhere it is performed.
Gongs and drums are used to accompany the dance. Today modern music
also complements the dance.
: This is an impressive dance originating from the Pawi and
Mara communities in the southern part of Mizoram. This dance is
known as 'Sarlamkai' whereas the Lushais referred to it as 'Rallu
Lam'. In older days when the different tribes were constantly at
war with each other, a ceremony to deride the vanquished beheaded
skull of the enemy was usually held by the victor. This ceremony
is performed to ensure that the vanquished soul remains a slave
to the victor even when the latter also dies. The derision
ceremony usually lasts for 5(five) days. The first 2 (two) days
is spent in merry-making, singing alongside drinks and a non-vegetarian
feast. On the third day a pig is slaughtered and he victor paints
his whole body with the animal's blood, which he only washes off
on the evening of the fourth day or on the morning of the fifth
day. During this 5(five) days period, the victor is not to sleep
with any women. If he does so, the vanquished soul is believed to
be infuriated and cause upon the victor, a permanent disability
in life. Any person who brings about an occasion for such a ceremony
is highly regarded and respected by the people, the king as well
as his elders.
Therefore, every adult strives with all his or her capability to
be such a hero. The courage and bravery of such heroes is a great
consolation for the people when faced with any external aggression.
It is during this ceremony that the 'Sarlamkai' dance is performed.
As is obvious, it is a warrior dance performed to celebrate a victory
in war. Songs are not sung; only gongs or cymbals or drums are used
for making beats. In the dance, boys and girls standing in alternate
position, dance in circles. They generally wear colorful dresses
while the leader is dressed as a warrior.
Chailam is a popular dance performed on the occasion of 'Chapchar
Kut' one of the most important festivals of the Mizos. In this dance,
men and women stand alternatively in circles, with the women holding
on to the waist of the man, and the man on the women's shoulder.
In the middle of the circle are the musicians who play the drums
and the mithun's horn.
The musician playing the drum choreographs the entire nuances of
the dance while the one with the mithun's horn chants the lyrics
of the 'chai' song. For the dance to start, the drummer beats on
the drum, and upon the fourth stroke of the drum the chai song is
sung with the rhythmic swaying of the dancers to the left and right,
in accordance with beats of the drum. Depending on the nuances followed,
the chailam' has four versions, viz 'Chai Lamthai I, 'Chai Lamthai
II, Chai Lamthai III and 'Chai Lamthai IV'. Legend has it that once
a king and his men went out for hunting. Unfortunately, they failed
miserably and had to be contended without a kill.
The king, then seeing the utter disappointment of his men, rose
to the occasion and consoles them by inviting them for a drink of
rice beer at his palace. On being intoxicated by the drinks, the
party then culminated by singing and dancing followed by a sumptuous
feast. Since then, every year, the community continues to enliven
the memory of this occasion be celebrating it with various entertainment
programs, thus giving rise to one of the most important festivals
of the Mizos, the 'Chapchar Kut'. In this dance, musical instrument
like drum and horns of mithun are used for making beats. The festivals
continues for a week or more. In olden days, the 'Chai' dancers
used to drink rice beer continuously during singing and dancing.
: This is a popular fold dance of one of the Mizo communities
known as Pawi. This dance is performed in two different occasions.
(i) It is performed by a husband to mourn the death of his
wife. The husband would be continuously performing this dance till
he gets tired. Friends and relatives would relieve him and dance
on his behalf. This signifies that they mourn with the bereaved.
(ii) Chawnglaizawn' is performed on festivals and also to
celebrate trophies brought home by successful hunters. On such occasions,
it is performed in groups of large numbers. Boys and girls standing
in rows dance to the beat of drums. Shawls are used to help the
movement of the arms, which also adds color to the dance. Only drums
are used in this dance.
: Chheihlam' originated after the year 1900 on the lines of
the songs known as 'Puma Zai' and the dance known as 'Tlanglam'.
It is a dance that embodies the spirit of joy and exhilaration.
It is performed to the accompaniment of a song called 'Chheih hla'.
People squat around in a circle on the floor, sing to the
beat of a drum or bamboo tube while a pair of dancers stand in the
middle, recite the song and dance along with the music. It was a
dance performed over a round of rice beer in the cool of the evening.
The lyrics are impromptu and spontaneous on the spot compositions
recounting their heroic deeds and escapades and they also praise
the honored guests present in their midst. While singing the song
accompanied by sound produced by beating of the drum or clapping
of hands, an expert dancer performs his dance chanting verses with
various movements of the body, with limbs close to the body and
crouching low to the ground.
As the tempo rose and the excitement increases, people squatting
on the floor leave their seats and join him. Guests present are
also invited to join the dance. Today 'Chheihlam' is performed on
any occasion with colorful costumes, normally in the evening when
the day's work is over.
Tlanglam: Tlanglam is performed throughout the length and
breadth of the State. Using music of Puma Zai, there have been several
variations of the dance. This dance is one of the most popular dances
these days by our cultural troupes in various places. Both sexes
take part in this dance.
Zangtalam:Zangtalam is a popular Paihte dance performed by men and
women. While dancing, the dancers sing responsive song. A drummer
is a leader and director of the dance. The duration of the dance
depends on the drummer.