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A Dance with Bamboo-- from the Land of Mizos

On the occasion of International Dance Day, I would like to share with you one of the mesmerizing yet lesser known folk dances of India- Cheraw. Cheraw is one of the oldest bamboo dances of the north eastern state of Mizoram in India. This dance is believed to be originated as early as the 1st century AD in the Yunan province of China. During the 13th century AD the mongoloids of Mizoram migrated to the Chin Hills and finally settled in the present state of Mizoram. They brought this dance along with their other cultural traditions.

In ancient times, this dance was performed in rituals as believed to bring solace to the soul of a mother, who had died over child birth and left her new born baby. But now the Cheraw has become an integral part of almost every auspicious occasion such as festivals, marriages etc in Mizoram.

This beautiful and elegant dance form involves about six to eight people holding pairs of bamboo staves on another horizontally placed bamboo on the ground. These bamboos are clapped together on a particular beat which forms the rhythm of the dance. While the male performers clap the bamboos rhythmically, the group of female dancers dances gracefully by stepping in and out of the bamboo blocks. The dancers perform various beautiful steps in and out on the beats of the bamboos. The patterns and steps of the dance have many graceful and elegant variations. The choreography of this dance is usually inspired by nature. The movements made by the dancers resembles those of their natural surroundings. Some steps are made in imitation of the movements of birds, swaying of trees and it goes on. Due to the use of bamboo, this dance is also known as bamboo dance or locally ‘Cheraw Kan’. 

An individual family performs the Cheraw dance on the occasion of the bumper harvest festival of ‘Buzha Aih’ in Mizoram. This dance is usually performed in front of the large gatherings on moonlit nights that add a glory to it. The usual costume worn by female dancers includes Thihna (necklace), Vakiria (head dress made of bamboo and decorated with bright objects such as feathers), Kawrchei (blouse)and Puanchei (sarong). All of these come in vibrant colours which enhances the beauty of this dance. The men wear a bandana and Mizo shawl. The traditional musical instruments that accompany the Cheraw dance are Gongs and drums. However, in modern times modern music has also been incorporated by the dancers.

The Cheraw dance has also made its way to the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest and the longest bamboo dance. The event took place after the traditional harvest festival of Mizos called ‘Chapchar Kut ’ on 12th of March 2010. The record was set by 10,736 performers half of them girls who danced to traditional music for eight minutes. The record-breaking event saw the performers from Aizawl and outskirts lining up to a 3 km stretch of a road besides a football field in the Assam Rifles complex. Only 2518 performers could be accommodated in the field while the remaining 8218 danced on the road. To ensure that the dancers along the road performed to precision, 42 horns were set up at the strategic points to air the tune.

The Cheraw dance is slowly gaining the recognition it deserves. It is a beautiful dance form requiring great skill, dedication and hard work to master.


  1. What a great way to tell about this dance. Felt like reading a story.
    You are multitalented. And all of your hard work has paid off.

  2. Thanks a lot for your kind words of appreciation. I am glad you liked the blog! Will try my best to share with you more interesting facts about dance forms from all over the world.

  3. Loved reading the blog and thanks for sharing this traditional form of dance of Mizoram of which we are totally unaware. Keep writing we shall be waiting for your next blog.

    1. Thank you for your appreciation! Will continue to share more interesting facts about various dances through my blogs.

  4. Amazing write. Before this was not aware of dance form of Mizoram. Thanks for this information!

    1. Thanks a lot for your kind words of appreciation! Hope you shall like my upcoming blogs too.

  5. Thanks for the blog loaded with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for. Bamboo Steamer

  6. Thank you so much for your appreciation.


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