Overview Origin And Meaning Of Nepali Dance
Nepali dances have evolved from the time when Nepal was established and the cultures started to be followed by the people. Nepal has got an ancient history of dance and the dances are performed as a symbol of happiness and pleasure.
The Nepali dances give respect to different cultures, ethnicities, traditional backgrounds and communities. These dances generate value to the community and are great sources of entertainment. The dances have been followed from the time of origin of human civilizations and different forms of dances have been practiced by the people.
There are mainly two types of dances that have been practicing by the Nepali community for a long time. One type of dance is called the classical dance which is based on ancient classics and another type of dance is a folk dance which is based on folk songs and music.
Nepali Classical Dance
Nepali classical dance is the type of dance which is performed with the help of music but not to is played on an electronic instrument. It describes the particular classical songs or music and requires the particular types of steps for the dance. The people choose a particular type of costume for performing a particular type of classical dance.
List Of Classical Dances Of Nepal:
1. Kumari Dance
It is one of the ancient classical dances of Nepal which is dedicated to living Goddesses “Kumari”. During the famous Indra Jatra festival of the Newari community, the living Goddesses Kumari is decorated with impressive ornaments. There will be a crowd of thousands of Nepali for paying homage to the living Goddesses Kumari.
2. Manjushree Dance
Manjushree dance is one of the popular classical dances which is performed and dedicated to Manjushree. It is one of the traditional ritual dances which is also known as Charya Nritya. The dance requires special costumes and jewelry dedicated to Manjushree.
It is said that worshipping Manjushree gives the wisdom and intelligence to the devotees. He is always special to Nepalese because according to the Buddhist legends, Manjushree came with his two wives from China for paying the homage to the self-existing flame in Swayambhunath.
3. Panache Buddha Dance
This dance is performed to represent the Pancha Buddha which means five Buddha. There are five dancers with their own particular posture, color, and direction. The five Buddhas are Vairochana ”The Brilliant One”, Aksobhaya ”The Inshakable”, Ratnasambhava ” The Matrix of Jewel”, Amitabha ”The Infinite Light”, and Amoghasiddhi” The Infallible Realization”.
Different costumes are used by the dancers which are the symbolic representation to the sky, earth, water, fire, and wind. This is called a ballet known as Charya dance. This dance is performed representing the Buddha’s teachings as well.
4. Bajrayogini Dance
Bajrayogini dance is one of the ancient classical dances of Nepal and there are four tantric goddesses in Kathmandu valley according to Buddhism. This dance is performed in order to please the goddesses Bajrayogini of Sankhu and the dance is characterized by the symbolic movements of the hands is skillfully timed with the general body movements and facial expressions.
This dance gives a strong sense of protection, preservation, anger, and emotions and is performed mainly in the Buddhist temples during special occasions. This dance has gained a lot of popularity today in Nepali society.
5. Arya Tara Dance
Arya Tara dance is one of the popular classical dances which is dedicated to Arya Tara better known as “The Holy Mother”. The songs of the dance talks about the various qualities of Arya Tara and the dance is performed in the special rituals wearing ceremonial dresses.
Nepali Folk Dance
Nepali folk dance is the traditional dance which is performed in Nepal with the help of folk music and song. It describes the folk culture of any caste and particular tribes. Folk dance makes the dancers move his/her body as per his/her wish.
The costumes of the community become costumes of folk dancers and folk dance has been practiced in our community in order to preserve our tradition and culture. It is based on the folk songs.
List Of Popular Nepali Folk Dance:
1. Tamang Selo
Tamang Selo is performed by the Tamangs beating a damphu in solo or in a group. This dance is also known as damphu-natch and is called Tam-syaba in the tamang language.
The Tamang people are simple, honest and hardworking and love to enjoy dancing and singing. Since the dance is performed by beating the hand drum it is called damphu dance.
2. Juhari Or Dohori Dance
Juhari is the dual dance that is performed in a group during the festivals and in rodighar. There are two teams of men and women who exchange the lyrical phrases and make the song more beautiful. Many people enjoy dohori and start dancing on the floor.
3. Chutki Dance
Chhetris, Bahuns, Gurungs, and Magars people enjoy the chutki dance. With the rhythmic beats of Khaijadi, Chhetris and Bahuns enjoy the dance while Gurung and Magars use Madal for dancing. These people dance at full speed using body movement.
4. Dhan Nacha
This is the Limbus dance where the young boys and girls hold each other hand from side to side swinging their feet in the beat of Chyabrung. This agricultural dance of limbus is called paddy dance which is performed on the occasion of agricultural activities like paddy transplantation and harvesting.
5. Karua Dance
Men and men, women and women or men and women of the Magars and Tamangs community perform the karua dance. It is one of the popular folk dances of our country where Magars and Tamangs enjoy singing and dancing in their own beat of the music.
6. Balan Dance
Balan dance is the popular folk dance which is performed by the Chhetris and Bahuns during the religious ceremony. It signifies the importance of the dance which is the performance of “Lilas” of different gods and goddesses.
7. Maruni Dance
The male character disguises as women wear long frock like dresses and dances. The other members sing and make music. It has become a part of the life of the eastern Nepali people of Sikkim and Darjeeling.
8. Bethi Dance
Bethi dance has panche Baja and is performed during the resetting time of the people of Nepal. These practices have been followed for a long time and have become a part of our lives.
9. Sorathi Dance
It is just like maruni dance and is known as madalay-nach which is performed once in a year. Especially in rodighar, Sorathi is performed and many people enjoy the pleasure of dance because it has some traditional and cultural significance.
It is the popular dance in the Gurung community which has a great dance tradition. In this dance, the main dancer representing the Jaisinge Raja dances in turn with sixteen female dancers who represent the sixteen queens. Two male dancers dance beating the drums and madal is also played while dancing.
10. Sakela Sili Dance
It is the dance performed by the Rais during the festival of sakela. It is the longest group dance and it continues for many days. The Rai people and their culture and traditions will be demonstrated by the dance performed as sakela sili.
11. Lakhe Dance
It is the popular dance practiced by the Newari community during the festivals. The individual who dances as lakhe wears masks and appears as a monster to the other people.
12. Matrikastam Dance
This is one of the popular mask dance performed by the Newar community during the Dashain festivals. It reflects the culture and traditions of the newari community and has become part of their lives.
13. Jungwa Dance
It is one of the ceremonial dances which is performed by the Tamang priest. The Tamang people who have faith in their culture and traditions enjoy the Jungwa dance to the fullest.
14. Mhendomaya Dance
The Tamang men and women form two separate row and dance together. This type of dance is similar to the Kaura and Cholmu dances. This popular dance has been practiced by the Tamang people and it has reflected the culture and tradition of these Tamang people.
15. Sangini Dance
This is the dance performed by the Chhetri and Bramins women during the festival of Teej. This is the dance performed by the women holding the diyo or carrying Kalash on the head. It is the slow dance that depends upon the movement of hand and feet.
16. Jhyaware Dance
It is one of the most popular dances practiced by the Nepali community. The dance reflects ancient Nepali culture and traditions.
17. Deura Dance
It is performed by the Damai community. In this dance, Naumati Baja is played and dance is performed.
18. Khukuri Nach
It is performed by the brave Nepali soldiers. It is performed holding the khukuri in the hands. It is performed to represent the power and pride.
19. Jhyaure Dance
This type of dance is popular in the Gandaki zone which is performed by the young boys and girls to express the joy of meeting their lovers. This has become a part of the modern life of the young community of the Gandaki zone.
20. Tappa Dance
This dance is popular in Dang which starts as a slow dance and then speeds up in the end. It is performed with the beating of madal.
21. Yak and Yeti Dance
This dance is performed paying the homage to yaks since yaks are used for carrying goods in the high Himalayas, the dance is performed for the remembrance of the yaks.
22. Newari Dhime Dance
This Newari dance is performed by the Newari community during the harvest seasons. It is said that the dance is originated during the 13th century and is associated with the high culture.
23. Sherpa Dance
The Sherpa dance is performed by the sherpas of the high Himalayas while meeting friends and relatives. These people have their own traditions and culture and work throughout the year. In order to have relief, they sometimes sing and dance.
24. Bhojpuri Dance
It is the dance practiced in the Terai region of the country where the young people perform the dance in the autumn and spring season to attract each other.
25. Dhimal Dance
The Dhimal people who reside in the eastern part of the country perform this dance in a group. Both males and females wear traditional costumes of fishing during this dance.
26. Ghatu Dance
This dance is also known as ‘Bara Mase Ghatu’ which is performed by the unmarried girls. This dance is popular in the Gandaki zone.
27. Khali Dance
This is the dance performed using madal where the young girls and boys dance together in chautari teasing and flirting each other. The young boys and girls can win their wives and men if they win in the contests.
28. Jhijhiya Dance
It is the dance performed by the young boys in dashami and the women carry lanterns with holes and Diyos inside it. The women dance with the lanterns on the head, they dance in such a way that the holes in the lanterns can be counted. It is performed mainly to protect people from evil spirits.
29. Chandi Dance
The Chandi dance is performed by the Kirat Rais people to pray Lord Shiva and goddesses Parvati for peace and success in their lives. The people worship gods and goddesses and dance for good crops.
30. Peacock Dance
The male peacock which is the symbol of holly bird starts to spread its feathers and dance when there cloud and thunder. The dancer pretends to be the peacock and dance like a peacock.
31. Jhankri Dance
Witch doctors play a significant role in the life of rural people. The witch doctors perform a different kind of dance with different postures and gestures while treating sick people.
The dance of Nepal is worth watching because it is performed with unique music and songs. There are many Nepali dance images that portray the ancient dance history of our country. Nepal is rich in classical, cultural and folk dances and the proper conservation is our duty.