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Purulia Chhau

Chhau dance, a distinctive genre of Indian tribal martial dance prevalent in the Indian States of Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, showcases unique styles known as Seraikela Chhau, Mayurbhanj Chhau, and Purulia Chhau, each based on its place of origin and evolution.
Also referred to as paikanrutya, the term "paika" is derived from the Sanskrit word Padatika, signifying infantry, hence denoting the dance's martial essence. While some associate the term Chhau with the Sanskrit word Chaya (shadow, image, or mask), Sitakant Mahapatra suggests its origin from Chhauni (military camp).
The primary distinction among these sub-genres lies in the use of masks. Seraikela Chhau features smaller masks, Purulia Chhau showcases large, colorful masks, whereas Mayurbhanj Chhau performers paint their faces instead.
Chhau dance is predominantly performed during regional festivals, notably the 13-day spring festival of Chaitra Parva, involving the entire community.
Combining elements of dance, mock combat techniques (khel), stylized movements inspired by birds and animals (challs & topkas), and chores of village life (uflis), Chhau presents a rich cultural tapestry.
Traditionally performed by male dancers from families of traditional artists or local communities, Chhau takes place at night in open spaces known as akhadas or asars, accompanied
by traditional folk music played on reed pipes such as mohuri and shehnai. Various drums, including the dhol (cylindrical drum), dhumsa (large kettle drum), and kharka or chad-chadi, enrich the musical ensemble.
Date: February 13, 2024
Time: 1:30 PM
Venue: College Auditorium