Dances are a primary source of entertainment, and they are also taken as one of the best forms of expression. From a simple tap of the feet to complex routines, all are forms of dance. Meanwhile, cultural dances are also a form of preserving and promoting one’s culture. And this, one can see being practised as groups in various communities throughout the history.
Cultural dance performances increase social and cultural interaction and contribute to a sense of community well-being and togetherness. Nepali community dances are vital to life, culture, and traditions. So, here are some traditional cultural dances performed by different communities in Nepal.
1. Chandi dance
Chandi dance, also known as Sri Sri Nach, is typically performed by the Rai (Kirat) community of Nepal. It is typically performed on the occasion of Baisakh Purnima (usually in April/ May). In this cultural dance, they worship Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva and perform this dance while praying to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for peace and success in the village. To the rhythmic beats of drums, boys/men and girls/women dance together.
2. Dhan dance
The dhan dance (alternately referred to as the paddy dance also) is a traditional agricultural and cultural dance performed on the occasion of Udhauli Parva. On this occasion, the Limbu community performs one of Nepal’s most traditional and unique dance forms. This type of Nepali dance is typically performed during agricultural activities such as rice transplantation and harvesting. Young boys and girls hold each other and control each other from side to side to the beat of chyabrung.
3. Deuda dance
This Nepali cultural dance is popular in the districts of Doti and Dailekh in the country’s far-western region. A group of men and women perform the deuda dance. Nowadays, residents of the far-western region who have settled in Kathmandu gather at Tundikhel to perform this dance as a group. Throughout the dance, the young boys and girls sing and dance together, exchanging love.
4. Chyabrung dance
The chyabrung cultural dance is popular among the Limbu community of Nepal. It is typically performed at the time of a marriage ceremony. The only music used in the dance is the rhythmic beating of the chyabrung (a traditional drum in the Limbu community), and dancers perform synchronised and complicated footwork depicting graceful movements of wild animals and birds.
5. Damphu dance
The damphu dance is a Nepali folk dance popular among the people of the hills. This dance is performed by the Tamang community of Nepal. They are straightforward, honest, and hardworking individuals with a strong desire to enjoy life through dancing and singing. This dance is accompanied by the damphu, a hand drum, and thus the dance is known as the damphu dance.
6. Khukuri dance
The mountain people’s khukuri dance is an original Nepali dance in which the dancers demonstrate their amazing skills with the khukuri knife (a well-known Nepali weapon). The nature of this dance is prideful and it is also very exciting at the same time. This dance is also performed by Gurkha soldiers and is seen in the military or army centres. This dance is performed while holding a khukuri, which symbolises power and pride.
Mayur dance (also known as peacock dance) is simply an imitation of a mayur, a peacock. The dancer in this dance pretends to be a peacock and performs the dance as a peacock would in the rain. During the monsoon season, this dance is performed to celebrate the greenery brought by the rain. A version of the mayur dance also demonstrates Lord Krishna and Radha’s love. The dancer dresses up as a pacifist and performs the dance as a pacifist would in the rain.