The Chhau dance of Purulia district is a sophisticated dance system
in Bengal. The Chhau dance is a mask dance. There is no Chhau without
mask. This dance is usually performed by male dancers. Chhau dance of
Purulia has some characteristics of primitive ritualistic dance in its
vigour, style and musical accompaniment mainly the drum. The symbols were
once used as facial painting or body painting by dancers who were thus
recognized as personifying the characters they stimulated and the
masks appeared later.
The best Chhau dance groups or parties are located within
Baghmundi P.S. They are the best because of their traditional vigorous
and heroic style of performance. The other groups (Domordi-group, Birgram-group,
Madla-group etc ) are more sophisticated and refined both in their themes
and dance-styles. The Chorda-group of dancers are not only best performs
of heroic Pauranic themes, but also are very much selective about such
themes for their performance. Chhau mask dance is predominantly a Bhumij
art. All the majority of dancer are Bhumji.