Monday, May 20, 2019
Andhra Pradesh


The Mango Dance of the Konda Reddis

The Hill Reddis or Konda Reddis also called the Reddis of the Bison hills dwell in Khamman, East Godavari and West Godavari districts. These parts are famous for mangoes. Before plucking the mangoes, the Konda Reddis have a ceremonial festival with a community Dance. They neither decorate nor paint their body like the Gusadis. As an act of worship to Mutyalamma and Konda devata, they dance rhythmically to the accompaniment of drums. This dance commences during the night, with a gentle beat of drums.  

Three to four women hand in hand with the castanet like sound of dry nuts join the dance. The men and women both join the dance but they form separate groups. Leaning towards the left they circumambulate around the place. The women, while tapping the ground with the foot, take four steps forward. This is done in a particular manner. Stepping forward with the right foot four times, leaning towards one side, they come back with one step in the same manner. The circle of men and women moving rhythmically to the centre and retreating with waving arms and the clatter of nuts provide a fascinating pattern for the dance. Keeping the feet apart and jumping with the right and left foot alternately with the other foot forward is another feature of this dance. The dance steps of the men are different from those of the women. The men while stepping forward, put the right foot first and bring the left foot up to the heel of right foot. This facilitates stepping forward again with the right foot. The drummers and other instrumentalists stand in the centre in the beginning, later they join in the dances and step accordingly forward and backward along with the whole group. The two types of drums used as accompaniment provide regular rhythm to this foot work. When drum beats quicker, the dance also gets momentum and vigour.

After feasting about midnight; men, women and children again begin to dance. They also sing songs invoking Mutyalamma and the hill gods and goddesses. This singing has some religious significance. The song comes to an end by the time the ritual dance reaches its climax. The groups break up and dancing, circling and jumping in frenzy, again form into groups. This dance continues till the next morning and concludes when fatigue overtakes them.


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