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Dalkhai Dance

Dalkahi dance from Orissa

Dalkhai is the most popular folk dance of Orissa, is higly popular in the western parts of the state. It is performed on numerous occasions like Bhaijiuntia, Phagun Punei, Nuakhai etc. Dalkhai is mostly performed by young women of Binjhal, Kuda, Mirdha and Sama tribes of Sambalpur, Bolangir, Sundargarh and Dhenkanal districts of Orissa in which men join them as drummers and musicians. The dance is accompanied by a rich orchestra of folk music played by a number of instruments known as Dhol, Nisan (a typically giant sized drum made of iron case), Tamki (a tiny one sided drum 6 inch in diameter played by two sticks), Tasa (a one sided drum) and Mahuri. However, the Dhol player controls the tempo while dancing in front of the girls.

The  Dalkhai dance  is thus called owing to the use of the word “Dalkhai” in the beginning and end of every stanza. The word is used as an address to a girl friend. The love story of Radha and Krishna, the episodes from Ramayana and Mahabharata, the descriptions of natural scenery are depicted through the songs. The young women dance and sing intermittently. While dancing to the uncanny rhythms of the Dhol, they place the legs close together and bend the knees. In another movement they move forward and backward in a half-sitting position. Sometimes they make concentric circles clock-wise and anti-clock-wise. The women generally dress themselves with the colorful Sambalpuri Sari and wear a scarf on the shoulders holding the ends below in both the hands. Bedecked with traditional ornaments and flowers their robust frames sustain the strains of the dance for long hours. The Dalkhai dance of Orissa has several adjunctive forms known as Mayalajada, Rasarkeli, Gunji kuta, Jamudali, Banki, Jhulki, Sainladi etc. It’s basically a secular form of performing folk art.

 

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