About Mizoram

About Mizoram - > Dances

Mizo people have a number of dances which are accompanied with few musical instrument like the gong and drum

Khuallam: Khuallam literary means 'Dance of the Guests'. It is a dance usually performed in the ceremony called 'Khuangchawi'. In order to claim a distinguished place in the society and to have a place in paradise or Pialral one has to attain the coveted title of 'Thangchhuah'. There are two ways of attaining this title. (Video Clip)

Firstly one could attain the title Thangchhuah by proving one's mettle in war or in hunting by killing many animals which should include animals like barking,deer, wild boar, bear, wild gayal, viper, hawk etc.Secondly one could also get the title of Thangchhuah by performing feats and dances. Thangchhuah therefore could be attained only by the brave or by the rich. The ceremonies performed in the second method are known as Khuangchawi.   Khuallam

Guests invited from the other villages at the Khuangchawi ceremony enter the arena dancing Khuallam. Traditional hand woven Mizo cloth known as Puandum is wrapped over the shoulders and the dance is performed by swaying the cloth. Puandum has the colors black, red, yellow and green stripes. Significantly Puandum is an indispensable item which every girl has to take along with when she gets married. It is used when her husband dies to cover the dead body. As most other folk dances of the Mizos, this dance is accompanied by a set of gongs known as Darbu and no song is sung. It is generally performed in large numbers.
Cheraw: Cheraw is a very old traditional dance of the Mizos. It is believed that the dance had already existed way back in the 1st Century A.D., while the Mizos were still somewhere in the Yunan Province of China, before their migration into the Chin Hills in the 13th Century A.D., and eventually to the present Mizoram. Some of the tribes living in South East Asia have similar dances in one form or the other with different names.   Cheraw
Men sitting face to face on the ground tap long pairs of horizontal and cross bamboo staves open and close in rhythmic beats. Girls in colorful Mizo costumes of 'Puanchei', 'Kawrchei'. Vakiria' and 'Thihna' dance in and out between the beats of bamboo. This dance is now performed in almost all festive occasions. The unique style of the 'Cheraw' is a great fascination everywhere it is performed. Gongs and drums are used to accompany the dance. Today modern music also complements the dance. (Video Clip)

Sarlamkai/Solakia : This is an impressive dance originating from the Pawi and Mara communities in the southern part of Mizoram. This dance is known as 'Sarlamkai' whereas the Lushais referred to it as 'Rallu Lam'. In older days when the different tribes were constantly at war with each other, a ceremony to deride the vanquished beheaded skull of the enemy was usually held by the victor. This ceremony is performed to ensure that the vanquished soul remains a slave to the victor even when the latter also dies.

The derision ceremony usually lasts for 5(five) days. The first 2 (two) days is spent in merry-making, singing alongside drinks and a non-vegetarian feast. On the third day a pig is slaughtered and he victor paints his whole body with the animal's blood, which he only washes off on the evening of the fourth day or on the morning of the fifth day. During this 5(five) days period, the victor is not to sleep with any women. life.   Sarlamkai
If he does so, the vanquished soul is believed to be infuriated and cause upon the victor, a permanent disability inAny person who brings about an occasion for such a ceremony is highly regarded and respected by the people, the king as well as his elders.Therefore, every adult strives with all his or her capability to be such a hero. The courage and bravery of such heroes is a great consolation for the people when faced with any external aggression. It is during this ceremony that the 'Sarlamkai' dance is performed. As is obvious, it is a warrior dance performed to celebrate a victory in war. Songs are not sung; only gongs or cymbals or drums are used for making beats. In the dance, boys and girls standing in alternate position, dance in circles. They generally wear colorful dresses while the leader is dressed as a warrior.

Chailam:  Chailam is a popular dance performed on the occasion of 'Chapchar Kut' one of the most important festivals of the Mizos. In this dance, men and women stand alternatively in circles, with the women holding on to the waist of the man, and the man on the women's shoulder. In the middle of the circle are the musicians who play the drums and the mithun's horn.

The musician playing the drum choreographs the entire nuances of the dance while the one with the mithun's horn chants the lyrics of the 'chai' song. For the dance to start, the drummer beats on the drum, and upon the fourth stroke of the drum the chai song is sung with the rhythmic swaying of the dancers to the left and right, in accordance with beats of the drum.   Chai
Depending on the nuances followed, the chailam' has four versions, viz 'Chai Lamthai I, 'Chai Lamthai II, Chai Lamthai III and 'Chai Lamthai IV'. Legend has it that once a king and his men went out for hunting. Unfortunately, they failed miserably and had to be contended without a kill. The king, then seeing the utter disappointment of his men, rose to the occasion and consoles them by inviting them for a drink of rice beer at his palace. On being intoxicated by the drinks, the party then culminated by singing and dancing followed by a sumptuous feast. Since then, every year, the community continues to enliven the memory of this occasion be celebrating it with various entertainment programs, thus giving rise to one of the most important festivals of the Mizos, the 'Chapchar Kut'. In this dance, musical instrument like drum and horns of mithun are used for making beats. The festivals continues for a week or more. In olden days, the 'Chai' dancers used to drink rice beer continuously during singing and dancing.

Chawnglaizawn : This is a popular fold dance of one of the Mizo communities known as Pawi. This dance is performed in two different occasions.

(i)  It is performed by a husband to mourn the death of his wife. The husband would be continuously performing this dance till he gets tired. Friends and relatives would relieve him and dance on his behalf. This signifies that they mourn with the bereaved.
(ii)  Chawnglaizawn' is performed on festivals and also to celebrate trophies brought home by successful hunters.
On such occasions, it is performed in groups of large numbers. Boys and girls standing in rows dance to the beat of drums. Shawls are used to help the movement of the arms, which also adds color to the dance. Only drums are used in this dance.

Chheihlam : Chheihlam' originated after the year 1900 on the lines of the songs known as 'Puma Zai' and the dance known as 'Tlanglam'. It is a dance that embodies the spirit of joy and exhilaration. It is performed to the accompaniment of a song called 'Chheih hla'. People squat around in a circle on the floor, sing to the beat of a drum or bamboo tube while a pair of dancers stand in the middle, recite the song and dance along with the music.

It was a dance performed over a round of rice beer in the cool of the evening. The lyrics are impromptu and spontaneous on the spot compositions recounting their heroic deeds and escapades and they also praise the honored guests present in their midst. While singing the song accompanied by sound produced by beating of the drum or clapping of hands, an expert dancer performs his dance chanting verses with various movements of the body, with limbs   Chheihlam
close to the body and crouching low to the ground. As the tempo rose and the excitement increases, people squatting on the floor leave their seats and join him. Guests present are also invited to join the dance. Today 'Chheihlam' is performed on any occasion with colorful costumes, normally in the evening when the day's work is over
Tlanglam: Tlanglam is performed throughout the length and breadth of the State. Using music of Puma Zai, there have been several variations of the dance. This dance is one of the most popular dances these days by our cultural troupes in various places. Both sexes take part in this dance.   Tlanglam
Zangtalam: Zangtalam is a popular Paihte dance performed by men and women. While dancing, the dancers sing responsive song. A drummer is a leader and director of the dance. The duration of the dance depends on the drummer.

Ministry of Communication & Information Technology
National Informatics Centre, Mizoram State Centre
Old Secretariat Building-2 , Aizawl - 796001