Chhou Dance

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Purulia is a dry and stony land. The people living on the land are very poor and nature shows them no mercy. So every day can become a struggle for food, shelter and clothing. Living in this environment, where life can often become just a fight for survival, Chhou dance becomes like a nectar and a life force.

So Chhou is in our blood. But because influences from modern, urban society are starting to erode our local culture, we risk loosing this life force. So in order to preserve and promote this beloved part of our culture, we teach Chhou dance in our school.

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We have engaged six expert dancers and musicians to pass on the skills inherit in this very ancient dance form and more than fifty boys come for training at our weekly sessions.

The classes take place weekly, are free to the boys and we provide them with a nourishing meal afterwards.

Typically they will have begun to develop their skills in this spectacular and strenuous dance form in early childhood.

The choreography may recount local stories or traditional legends from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Their performances instil a sense of pride in their heritage and self-confidence in both the dancers themselves and their audiences.

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Rehearsing in Dabar Village
Performing at the British Library, London

 

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