Cheraw dance is performed in the north eastern state of Mizoram. This dance includes four people. It is the most notable dance of Mizoram and a center for attraction during festive season in Mizoram. Similar dance forms could be found in East and even in Philippines (known as Tinikling.)
Cheraw dance could be recognized by the use of bamboo staves. These are kept in cross and horizontal positions on the ground. While the male dancers follow rhythm while moving on these bamboos, the females dance by stepping in and out of the bamboo blocks. Undoubtedly, Cheraw is one of the oldest folk dance of Mizoram and also an integral part of almost every Mizo festival.
The Bamboo significance
According to the tales, the Cheraw dance originated in as early as the 1st century AD. Since, long bamboo staves are used for this dance, it is usually referred as ‘Bamboo Dance’. Supported by two bases, these bamboos are clapped together on a particular beat for male dancers. The females on other hand, dance gracefully by stepping in and out of the crossed and horizontally laid bamboo staves. They tap the bamboos in rhythmic beats. The bamboos, when clapped, produce a sound which forms the rhythm of the dance. It indicates the timing of the dance as well.
The usual costume worn by the female dancers during the Cheraw dance includes Thihna, Vakiria, Kawrchei and Puanchei. Majority of these traditional costumes are in vibrant colors that in turn brighten up the surroundings further. In ancient times, Cheraw dance was performed with the hope of providing solace to soul of a deceased mother who had left her newborn child on earth. However, the horizon of Cheraw dance has expanded significantly. In fact, this dance is performed on every big and small occasion of Mizoram.
The usual choreography of this folk dance is inspired by the nature. While some expressions mimic the swaying of trees, others resemble the flying of birds. Hence, there is no denying of the fact that Cheraw dance is notably the most enchanting form of representing Mizoram culture.