Sunday, September 20, 2020
Nagaland

Arts



Dance

Dancing is natural to the Naga tribes. It is full of vigour and vitality. Strangely it is the monopoly of men, except in Zeliang tribe where women join with their men folk in dancing. There is nothing like individual performance.

Naga dancing is always in a group. It is difficult to generalize, but roughly it could be said that the artists first slowly enter the arena or stage, make a circle or any other geometrical formation and gradually work up tempo with the stamping of feet, interspersed with clapping and chanting of some formula. The spear, dao or the shield  are swung to the rhythm of the dance. After the climax is reached, the tempo is brought down again and there is a satisfying finale. The beauty of the dances is heightened by the colourful costumes. The zeliang dance is particularly artistic.

The Zemis of North Cachar hills are very fond of dances. There are a number of dances and each with a different name. They are named after the manner in which hands and feet are executed to resemble the movements of a bird or an insect or an animal. For example, Nruirolians known as 'cock dance' is the dance which resembles the trait of a cock, Gethinglim or 'cricket dance' is a dance in which hands are moved to and fro. Some what resembling the movement of the insect Temangnetin or the 'fly dance'; Hetateulee or the 'bear dance', which was usually done by men when defeating enemies. All these dances are performed with the accompaniment of songs and music. Drums and cymbals are beaten at regular intervals while the singers array themselves on one side or form a circle so as to allow space for the dancers in the centre. Songs which are generally and commonly sung by both young and old alike may be classified as follows.