dances of the Lushais, pawis and Lakhers are mostly common. Most popular
of the Mizo dances now is the cheraw or the bamboo dance. Six girls
wearing colourful, ceremonial dresses and flower crowns as head gears squat on
the ground holding bamboo poles which are rhythmically shifted and struck against
one another. Six other girls dance, moving between the shifting bamboos.
The dance has a fast rythm and symbolises the pulsating youth. Bamboo
dance, exactly in this forms, is found in some south-east Asian countries,
notably in the phillipines.
Khal Lam is another popular dance of
Mizos in which a group of boys
wearing specially made shawls dance to the beat of drums and gongs. The dancers wear one type of striped loin cloth
and a uniform striped shawl (puandum). While one beats a gong, the dancers
in a row more gradually forward, with small forward-backward steps, keeping with
the time. The arms would be flayed, along with the steps.
occasions of Chapchar Kut festival the boys and girls would dance
night. The boys would sit with their backs to the wall. Each boy would
have a girl sitting in front of him, in between his knees, with her back
towards him. Individual dancers would perform in the clearing in the
middle, all the others joining in the music. The young folk would perform
another type of dance in the open courtyard. They would make a circle with
a girl in between two boys with their arms over the shoulders of the
girls. In the midst of the circle, one would beat a drum or gong and all
in the circle would move forward and backward and would also progress slowly
along the circle. The person in the middle would chant a song and the
refrain would be taken up by all. All the time the dancers would get
rounds of Zu and the dance would last as long as the supply of Zu could be kept
popular dance is Sawlakin. This was originally a Lakher dance, but now it
has been adopted by all the Mizas. Sawlakia means spirit of the slain.
The dance was led by the warrior who had hunted a big game or killed a
man. He would wear his best clothes and a plume of red feather. He
would wield a gun or dao and a shield. He would be followed by other
dancers in a row, who would also carry weapons, or cymbals or gongs. Some boys
would stand in a group beating drums or blowing bugles. The dancers would
move forward and slowly go round the head. While dancing weapons and
shields would be wielded keeping time with drum or gong beats. All the
time dancers would be plied with Zu by the women. This dance is a popular
dance now. The modifications now are that there is no head in the circle
and no Zu.
Chhilam was the dance performed in beer parties. But this dance still
continues in a modified form, particularly in gatherings at homes. This is
danced by elderly people and mostly by men, but sometimes women also join in.
The men and women sit in a circle, beating the drum, and sing anecdotes and each
takes a turn to dance in the centre of the circle.
traditional songs and dances were the common amusements of the people. A
Zu party would always be an occasion for songs and dances. The songs were
slow and generally sounded mournful. Songs would be accompanied by beat of
drums or gongs. The theme would mostly be narration of some events or
praise of some hero or former villages, description of some hunt or simply of
love. In a gathering of Zu party or on the occasion of marriage or after a
successful hunt, one would start the music by reciting a verse and it would be
followed by singing of the verse by all others and this would continue in the
same sequence for a long time sometimes even throughout the night.
young Mizos have, in the recent past, taken up western music and dances with
great aplomb. In all the villages, groups of young men and women gather in
the evening and sing and dance, sometimes the whole night. The only
musical instrument used is the Spanish guitar, called ting tang by the Mizo.
The young Mizos, both boys and girls, have a very lilting musical voice and they
have a natural flair for music. A very recent development is pop
music with a composite band which is popular in towns and big villages.
traditional musical instruments of the Mizos had been mostly the drum, gong and
flute. The drum are made from hollowed out tree trunks two sides of which
are covered by fine hides. It is about a foot in diameter and two feet in
length. The drums is used in all feasts and festivals and it keeps beat in
songs and dances. The gongs are made of brass and come in various sizes.
These have always been imported from Burma and are rather costly. Gongs
are sometimes played in a combination of three: each gong having a separate note
the three gongs would together produce a tune. Another instrument used was
made of gourds in which hollow reeds were inserted. The player would
blow through one reed and would produce a tune by opening and closing holes in
the other reeds. Flute was made from bamboo pieces. Now-a-days
however, only the drum and gong are used.