Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Seraikela abuzz with Chhau activities, artists wow art lovers

Jamshedpur : Chhau artists from different parts of the State have won hearts with their performances during the Chhau Mahotsav being organised by the State Department of Culture and Tourism at Seraikela. About a decade ago, an initiative by the local administration in association with the family members of the former king of Seraikela, Aditya Narayan Singhdeo, had led to the commencement of the Chhau festival in the area.

Dance groups from various villages came here to perform their act like Mahisasur vadh, Krishna leela, Krishna Radha and theme based concepts. The judges for the competition were Padma Shri Gopal Prasad Dubey and other experts like Shyam Prasad Nanda, Nathu Mahato, Santosh Mahato, Hare Krishna Mahapatra and Sushant Mahapatra.

The organizers have especially invited the Chhau team from Odisha to showcase their art before the folk dance lovers of the Kolhan during the festival.

chhau2The Seraikela district administration, which is the principal organizer of the festival, along with Lok Kala Sangam has informed that Sambhalpuri and Nagpuri Chhau groups have been invited from outstation to take part in the folk dance festival.

“Sambhalpuri Chhau form is the main attraction of the festival this year wherein special focus will be on this dance form during the next two days of the mahotsav,” said an official.

About 150 artists will mesmerize the audience with their scintillating performance in the festival in the district which boasts of promoting different forms of Chhau with complete devotion.

The Seriakela form of Chhau is one of the most popular forms of the Chhau dance and the artists of this form are revered in Jharkhand. The last edition of the Chhau festival was a complete success with audience enjoying the live performances of the traditional yet popular folk dance forms by
the noted artists.

Apart from Sambhalpuri and Nagpuri, Jhumar, Rijha, Dassaye, Maghe, and Thirkal forms of Chhau dance will be showcased during the two day festival.
The Chhau groups participating in the event say that they otherwise earn their livelihood through farming or working as labourers. The groups charge between Rs 4000 and Rs 10,000 to perform in functions but they want the government to link Chhau to empowerment and increase employability of the artists.

Chhau’ is said to mean a mask, and hence aptly describes the main accoutrement of the dance. The noted Oriya literatteur Sitakanta Mahapatra, however, believes that the word is derived from Chhauni which means barracks. The militiamen (Paikas) performed these dance-dramas in Chhauni (cantonments ) to commemorate their battle victories or simply to relax, so it came to be called ‘Chhauni dance’, later shortened to Chhau.

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