BARDO CHHAM- ARUNACHAL PRADESH

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BARDO CHHAM DANCE, ARUNACHAL PRADESH, INDIA

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Belonging to the northeast of India is a dance style known as “Bardo Chham”. This “tribal” dance was created by a community called “Sherdukpens” in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in the West Kameng district. Apparently, this dance style is said to been based on the age old theory of “good eventually prevailing over evil”.  In addition, the costumes used in this dance form are extremely colourful and includes the use of masks. Furthermore, the word “Bardo Chham” when literally translated means “Dance of the Zodiac”.

a. History/origin of the Bardo Chham:

Historically speaking, this dance form similar to several others in the state of Arunachal Pradesh has been derived from the environment i.e. nature. Another major reason cited commonly is the sudden influx of number tribal communities in the state, which is what has led to the discovery of dance styles such as the Bardo Chham. In addition, the use of certain animal masks in this dance form is due to a popular belief that exists within the “Sherdukpens” tribal community, which states that there are apparently twelve evil animals that appear every year.

b. Costumes used in the Bardo Chham:

Apart from the colourful costumes used in this dance form, the key feature is the use of twelve animal masks by the dancers. These masks according to popular folklore essentially represent twelve evil animals that are supposed to appear before the “Sherdukpens” tribal community every year.

c. Music used in the Bardo Chham:

The music used in this dance style is extremely energetic and mainly involves the use of instruments such as the drum and the cymbals.

d. Training availability and dance technique involved in the Bardo Chham:

In terms of the technique involved in this dance form, the dancers (i.e. both male and female) rhythmically dance to the beat of the drums wearing animal masks. As for training centre/schools there are none available in the state as well in the country because this dance form has been passed on from one generation of the “Sherdukpens” tribe to another as tradition.

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