New Delhi, Nov 8, 2019: SPIC MACAY invited the leading and popular Chhou Dancer Chini Bas Mahato ji with his dance troupe. It was one of such events which made us proud of our diversity and culture even more. A Purulia Chhou dance (from the state of West Bengal) by Sri Chini Bas Mahato and his troupe left everyone spellbound.

The day started with a formal welcome of the guests, invocation, and lighting of the lamp, followed by the mesmerising dance performance. Emerging from Indian tribal martial practice, the Chhou Dance of Purulia district, West Bengal, is one of the most vibrant, vigorous and colorful art forms of dance drama.

The troupe depicted the Mahishasur Vadh. The dancers were wearing masks and elaborate head gears which were the ornamental apparels of the Chhou dancers as these dancers portrayed different characters. There were masks depicting Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu and Goddess Durga. These also included demons Mahishasur, other asuras and also the sawaris of the Gods and Goddesses (buffalo, lion and peacock). It was amazing to see the dancers emote using their bodies as their face was covered with a mask. The accompanying musicians were on one side of the stage playing musical instruments like the Dhol, Nagada, Shehnai and the keyboard. The vocalist sang and also gave the voice of the animals. The elaborate masks, the dazzling costumes, the rhythmic drum beatings and shehnai, characterize the Chhou Dance.

A distinctive feature of this dance was the acrobatic use of the body. Powerful movements, immense concentration and release of energy were the other features of the dance. In a Chhou Dance, the fight between good and evil always culminates in the triumph of good over the destructive evil. The wow moments were when the dancers did the flips which left the audience in awe. The guests were presented mementoes and applauded for the remarkable dance performance. SPIC MACAY is working on conserving and reviving our rich culture, which is slowly fading.