Over thousands of years, various traditional dance forms have evolved in Bihar. The folk dance of Bihar is divided into three groups. First, the dance is performed during the poetry performance. The second stream is those of the tribal people that are closer to mother earth and their dances are heavily influenced by indigenous development. The third stream relates to the opposite regions of south Bihar.
Most of the folk dances are religious in nature, in which, gods and goddesses are invoked through dance, performed to the rhythm of folk songs and music.
Popular Folk Dance of Bihar
Bidesia is the most popular folk dance of the Bihar people. The dance is claimed to have originated in the 20th century. It’s a folk theatre form that is prevalent in the Bhojpuri-speaking regions of Bihar. Bihari Thakur is believed to be the daddy of this dance style. He raised conflicting issues prevailing in society. Conflicting trends between rich and poor, upper crust and lower class, upper caste and lower caste, urban and poor dwellers etc. were his themes.
He used dance as a form to place his views on the ground and among people. Biraha songs combined with dance become an efficient medium. Bidesia may be a dance version of Biraha songs.
Biraha songs are a portrayal of the pain of the ladies who were left alone behind by their men, far away from home. Males play the roles of females in Bidesiya dance and for this purpose; they wear artificial long hair and dhoti. Despite the very fact that many new modes of entertainment have come up, Bidesia still has its charm amongst Biharis.
Another popular dance sort of Bihar is Paika. The dance reminds us of infantry and its agility, courage, and excitement. The dance is popular, particularly within the Mayurbhanj region. Flat ground is important for its performance.
This dance displays the talents & the ability of the dancers to handle these weapons. The dance reaches its climax with the fast beats produced by `Mandal`. Performers wear colorful turbans and tight dhotis and substitute two rows.
Holding the wooden swords and shields in their hands, warriors engage in fierce mock combat.
Jhijhian dance is another dance style popular in Bihar. This is often a ritualistic dance performed during no-rain time and aims at making the God of rain happy. The dance is amid a song which is full of prayers to Lord Indra, the Rain God.
The participants of the dance include a lead singer, harmonium player, a flutist, and a dholak player. This is often woman only dance show.
4. Kajari Dance
Kajari songs basically sung during monsoon season. The dance form called Kajari Dance accompanies these songs. The dance starts within the month of ‘Shravan’ or the starting of the monsoon season every year and lasts for the entire duration of rain.
These songs describe how wonderful the earth has become thanks to rain and how happy and pleasant people are. These songs, combined with dance, are a showcase of rich culture and tradition of Bihar.
Among the favored folk dances in Bihar, Chhau dance portrays virility and vitality. Derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Chhaya’ meaning shade, Chhau means mask. Masks play a crucial role in this dance form of India that makes extensive use of steps from a system of exercise known as ‘Pharikhanda’.
Chhau performers are seen holding shields and swords as they perform. That which forms a serious aspect of this folk dance in India is the 3 important elements from classical dance, Raga (melody), Tala (rhythmic timing) and Bhava (mood). The dance form portrays the animal world and nature confirmed with different forms like Sarpa Nritya (serpent dance), Sagara Nritya (ocean dance) and Mayura Nritya.
Themes from lifestyle and mythology also form a part of the Chhau dance. Unlike many other sorts of Indian dances, Chhau dance is about vitality and robustness. Powerful and poetic happens to be the visual communication.
People believe that on the 25th day of the month of Chaitra, Lord Shiva invoked this dance which is how the dance form began. The leading exponents of this mostly men-dominated sort of art, Chhau are royal princes in Mayurbhanj, the rabble and Purulia farmers, tillers etc.
Folk Musical Instruments of Bihar
Songs, dances and dramas are amid various musical instruments. Musical instruments of varied kinds are common among various tribes and communities in this region. They comprise Dhol, Dhak, Dhanaka, Madal, Mandar or Madol, Nagara, flute, Pipahi (Shehnai like), Jhanjh, clappers etc.
Sometimes a C- shaped home, Narsingha also called the Sakoa is employed. Kandra and Banam are two uncommon instruments employed by the Munda’s and the Santhals respectively. Chatkola, cymbals of various sizes, flutes of various kinds, the favored among them being Tirio, and lots of types, shapes and sizes of percussion instruments used.
Tumdak and Tamak are two percussion instruments played together. Folk music is an integral part of daily life all over rural Bihar. The songs of shepherds grazing their herd, riders hauling produce or goods on their bullock carts, or menfolk gathered under the shade of a banyan or peepal tree are amazing.
Radio and tv have added new dimensions to folk music, making different styles known outside their language zone. There is a variety of people, who earn their livelihood by means of folk music.
The nagara or nagara may be a drum used in the Middle East. There are several sorts of nagara, which is the lead instrument in folk ceremonies and weddings. The naghara differs in size and goes by various names like “boyuk nagara” (big naghara), “cura nagara” (small naghara), “chilling naghara” (played with drumsticks), “Qoltuq nagara” (drum held under the arm), gosha naghara (Naqareh) and “el naghara” (hand naghara).
The Jhanjh may be a rhythmic instrument that falls in the group of metal clappers, and it is made of brass or bronze metal. Jhanjh also referred to as “Manjira” or “Taal” is a simple side rhythm instrument normally used in accompaniment of Bhajans and other forms of devotional music.
They often accompany folk or devotional music. it’s used in various religious ceremonies of India, especially bhajans. The Jhanjh is an ancient instrument. Pictures of it found in temples dating back to the earliest times.
A clapper may be a basic form of percussion instrument. It consists of two long solid pieces that struck together producing sound. An easy instrument to produce and play, they exist in many forms in many various cultures around the world.
Clappers can take a variety of forms and make a wide variety of materials. Wood is the commonest, but metal and ivory have also been used. The plastic thunder sticks that have recently come to be popular at sporting events are often considered a form of inflated plastic clapper.