Chhattisgarh has a considerable population of tribal people. Moreover, majority of the people are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Thus, harvest seasons are of utmost importance and are celebrated with much enthusiasm. Many tribal communities have their own way of celebrating through dance and music. Some of the prominent folk dances of Chhattisgarh are revealed here:
Panthi dance is the preferred ritual of the Satnami community of Chhattisgarh. Followers of Guru Ghasidas, the Satnamis install the idol of Jaitkham on special occasions or festivals. They sing and dance in praise of “the true name of the Guru.”
Groups of men dance in several formations to varied rhythmical tunes played on the mandar drum and also the jhanjh. The recreation commences with slow movements to the accompaniment of a song led by the leader of the cluster, whereas the remainder follow the refrain. The tempo of the Panthi Dance increases gradually. The climax involves vigorous quick-paced movements interspersed with occasional characteristic pyramid-like formations created by the dancers.
Raut Nacha dance
Raut Nacha is another of the folk dances of Chhattisgarh. It is one of the forms which represents the cultural heritage of the folks here. It is performed in order to show the heritage of that region. All the performers are dressed in such a way that they show the value of their region to the viewers.
Raut Nacha is performed to put a spotlight on the battle fought between the King Khansa and the fighters of the Yadav community. During the battle time it was said that the people of the community of the Yadav had been empowered with the blessing of Lord Krishna. And this is the dance form which emphasizes the victory over evil. This dance leaves a lot of imagination and improvisation to the artist performing. Primarily, Raut Nacha is enacted during the festive season of Diwali.
Diwali being the key festival in Chhattisgarh is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm among the people. Raut Nacha underscores the bravery and valor of the people who fought in the ancient battles to preserve their culture and beliefs. There are many musical instruments are used during the dance of Raut Nacha.
Saila: Most prominent of the folk dances of Chhattisgarh
Youth in chhattisgarh exhibit their enthusiasm and spirit by performing Saila dance. Primarily, this folk dance is performed during the post-harvest season. Saila is a stick dance which is famous among the people of Sarguja, Chhindwara and Baitul districts.
There are a numerous formations for this dance. But, usually the dancers form a circle, where each one stands on one leg and takes help from the person standing in front. Occasionally, they pair off and go in single or double lines or climb on back of others. The refrain of the Saila songs are generally monotonous but the climax are usually progressive and vulgar.
Saila dance is performed in range of ways. Some of them are named as the Baithiki Saila, Artari Saila, Thadi Saila, Chamka Kunda Saila, Chakramar Saila (lizard`s dance) etc. Each type of variation is predicated on a precise theme and merit as its own identity.
Saila in its simplest kind is performed as the Dussehra dance that’s invariably performed by the Baigas before festival of Diwali. Most of the post-harvest folk dances like Saila reach their climax towards the culmination of festivities of Diwali. Such dances of the Ahirs and Rawats of Bilaspur and Raipur districts of the state have a significant appeal.