Chhau dance

While Odissi is known for its grace, Chhau is known for its vigour and is a danc originated from the mock – fights of the solders. The dance essentially marital and folk in nature was performed by mainly by soliders to keep themselves physically fit. Initially it was just mock –fight with groups of soliders rhythmically fighting with each other with sword and shiled, to the accompaniment of a band of musical instruments, mainly percussion.

At present Chhau dance is practiced in three areas of Eastern India : Mayurbhanj of Odisha, Sareikala in Jharkhand and Purulia in West Bengal. There are slight differences in the dance form of these three. There are two opinions about the origin of the word Chhau. According to the Mayurbhanj School of thought the word Chhau has been derived from the word Chhauni, meaning camp of the solders. But the Sareikala Scholl, which calims to be older than the Mayurbhanj School, tries to find out an etymological meaning of the word was derived from the Sanskrit work Chhaya, meaning shade of mask and claim that the dance bears the name for its use of mask.

This tribal dance shall keep you enthralled by its richness, vibrancy and colourfulness. With the flavour of folk, tribal and classical dances in it, the Chhau mainly has themes drawn from the two great Indian epics – the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Chhau dancers generally emote the feelings of love, romance, chivalry and victory of good over evil.