Chhau Dance

Chhau Dance is a traditional dance form with classical touch. Chhau is derived from the Sanskrit word Chhaya, which literally means shade image mask. A mask is used to cover the face of dancer during performance, and this mask forms the center of attraction. This dance is performed mainly in Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand and in certain parts of West Bengal.

In course of performance, a variety of Bhava (Mood) and Rasa (sentiments) are employed through body movements such as Siro Bhedo (Head gesture) and Griba Bhedo (neck gesture) without allowing for Dristi Bhedo (eye movements and glances).

The music of Chhau is based on the ragas of the Hindustani classical music. Traditional and classical musical instruments such as Clude Dhol, Nagara or Dhumsa (kettle dance), Jhanj (brass cymbals), flute, Mohuri, conch shells, Turi and Bheri (Long bamboo pipes) are used to put up the rhythm of music.

Chhau's themes depict the stories of great Indian epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Updated on 5th May, 2014


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