Chhau Dance is the tribal dance in Bihar. There are so many art forms surviving in India. Many of these forms are not fully known in all parts of the country among them Chhau dance form is one. This is the traditional dance drama form, which prevalent in Eastern India.
Yet, there are three major forms of Chhau. They are 1. Seraikella Chhau of Bihar. 2. Mayurbanj Chhau of Orissa. 3. Purlieu Chhau of West Bengal. The Seraikella Chhau was approved by UNESCO in the year 2010 as intangible Heritage of India. So the three dance forms called Chhau. The style of the dance is different according to their culture and background tradition of their region. Therefore the tribal dance chhau are folk based classical dances.
1.Seraikella Chhau Dance:
The Royal families patronized the Chhau dance among them Raj Kumar Suvendra Narayan Singhdeo serviced to flourished the dance. Due to their services the Chhau Dance still in existence. These tribal dances performed in the palaces of Seraikella, which belongs to Maharaja Aditya Pratap Singhdeo. Probably he started the Chhau Chaitra Festival to encourage the Chhau dancers. The tradition of the dance changed by adding classic stories and music based on Rag by Bijay Pratap Singhdeo. Hence the dance form is close to classical dance and also link with the folk and tribal dances of the regions.
Martial Art Influence on Chhau dance:
Martial art influenced Chhau dance, as a result the dancers wear the masks while performing. The mask in Seraikella Chhau is the main element in the Chhau dance. These masks indicate the character of the performer. Mainly the dance performed during the annual Chaitra Parva Festival to dedicate Ardhanareshwara as a prayer for the abundant harvest. Men from royal families only performed in Seraikella Chhau Dance. At present common people following the tradition.
Seraikella Chhau Dance:
Seraikella Chhau Dance is a pure dance. There are no dialogues to employ and no clear story line. But the dancers convey the story with their strong feelings through their body and face. The dancers perform the mythological stories of Hinduism.
The music composition for the dance themes is made up of a large Kettledrum called Nagara, Dhol, means barrel drum. The melodic ragas and classical music are employed during the dance performance. While dancers performing the dance the folk melodies aadded to the dance to attract the spectators.
The tribal Chhau Dance themes are:
1.HARA PARVATHI: This dance episode prior to Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi.
2. MAYUR NRITYA: In this dance shows the joy of the peacock in the rainy season.
3. RADHA KRISHNA: In this dance, the dancers shows the eternal love between Lord Krishna and Radha.
4. HANSA: The artist performs the movements of Swam while it is in water.
5. CHANDRABHAGA: It shows the background story of the creation of the Konark Temple in Orissa.
Some More Themes of Chhau Dance:
6. DURYODHANA URBHANGA: The theme of Mahabharata stories used in this dance. It shows the Goddess of fortune hides to trouble Duryodhana.
7. SAGAR: It shows the joy, beauty of the sea and the dangerous fascination sight of the sea.
8. RATRI (NIGHT): The main theme of the dance is adopted from the sacred book Rig Veda, the theme is RATRISUTRA.
9. ARDHANARESHWAR: It shows the concept of the creator Lord Shiva, who is the father and mother of the universe.
10. EKALAVYA: The character from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. A great warrior Ekalavya learned archery and even he did not care to give his Guru Dronacharya as Dakshina.
11. NABIK (Boat Man): In this dance, man narrates the story of life boat.
12. ARATI: In this theme, the dancers perform the offerings of the priests to the deities.