Tuesday, August 16, 2022
West Bengal

Arts & Crafts of West Bengal


 ▪ Natua Dance


In Chaitra, another type of composition known as the Jhumar is sung and danced. Jhumar can be sung and danced by only one men and women or both depending upon the particular occasion. The Jhumar at Chaitra is a typical men's dance which is accompanied by drum and cymbals. At time of the transplanting of the paddy only women sing and dance the Jhumar. This is then known as the Ashariya Jhumar. Into the agricultural songs of transplanting paddy was impregnated the theme of the love of Radha and Krishna and other stories of mystical union. The basic tune of the Jhumars remained more or less the same. The development of the Jhumar provides an interesting instance of an old form absorbing a new content.

The agricultural dances have gradually given place to dances which are purely devotional or religious in character. Practically each different sect has its own music and dances. The worshippers of Shakti, dance in the Chandi mandir of Siva, in the dance hall called Gambhira and those of Vishnu in the Natmandir. All these pavilions are specially constructed for the dance in front of the shrine. The Gambhira festival is held on this day. So also is the Kesvar where Siva is worshipped. Gazan dance is performed by men dressed in saffron robes who carry a Dhanuchi (incensed burners). This is exclusively performed by men; the musical accompaniment is provided by decorated drums and brass gongs (Kanshi).

The ballad singers, the boatmen, the fishermen and the professional musician dancers, actors, acrobats and even jugglers have their distinctive songs and dances. A characteristic feature of these is the musical accompaniment which consists of a one stringed instrument called the ektara. The dance movements are by and large, restricted to short sequences which intersperse the singing. The footwork is elementary, but the movement of the pelvic griddle is difficult and characteristic. It is freely used by men singing the songs to indicate a dramatic moment.