The Mizos, blessed as they are with a beautiful environment and rich culture, are vibrant and sociable people. They love to dance as much as they love to sing. They can boast of a number of folk and community dances which have been handed down from one generation to the other through the ages. The dances are expressions of the gay, carefree spirit of the Mizos.Cheraw
Also known as " Bamboo Dance ", for bamboos are used in this dance. The dancer moves by stepping alternatively in and out from between and acroos a pair of horizontal bamboos, held against the ground by people sitting face to face at either sides. They tap the bamboos, open and close in rhythmic beats. The bamboos placed horizontally, are supported by two bases, one at each end. The bamboos, when clapped, produce a sharp sound which forms the rhythm of the dance. It indicates the timing fo the dance as well. The dancer steps in and out to the beats of the bamboos with and grace. The patterns and steppings of the dance have many variations. Sometimes the steppings are made in imitation of the movements of birds, sometimes the swaying of trees, and so on.
Khual, in the Mizo language, means guest, and lam stands for dancing. So, Khuallam is the dance of the guest. To have a place in paradise, one had to prove one's mettle either in war or in hunting or by being a man of distinction in society. To claim a distinguished place in society, one had to perform various ceremonies which included offering community feasts and dances. These ceremonies, taken together, were known as 'Khuangchawi'. While performing "Khuangchawi" one was obliged to invite relatives from nearby villages. The guests entered the arena of the "Khuangchawi" dancing Khuallam. The dance is normally performed by men dressed in 'Paundum' (traditional Mizo clothes with red and green stripes) to the accompaniment of a set of gongs known as Darbu.
'Joie de vivre' would be the appropriate term to describe 'Chheih Lam', a dance that embodies the spirit of joy and exhilaration. 'Chheih Lam' is performed to the accompaniment of a song called ''Chheih hla'. The song is sung to the beats of a drum or bamboo tube or clapping of hands. People sqaut on the floor in a circle while a dancer stands in the middle reciting a song with various movements of limbs and body.Chai Lam
Chai is a festival dance. It is a community dance with men and women standing one after the another in a circle, holding each other on the shoulder and the nape. The dancers sway to and fro and swing their feet to the tune of the song sung in chorus by all of them, while a drummer and a gongman beat their instruments. Horns and Mithuns are other important instruments used in the dance. Legend has it that once they started dancing, they did not know when to stop.Rallu Lam
Strictly speaking, Rallu lam is not a dance as such. It is rather a celebration or a rite in honour of a victorious warrior. When a warrior comes back after a successful compaign, he is given a warm and colourful reception by the village Chief. The celebration consists of a re-enactment of the warrior's heroic exploits. Solakia
Originally, this dance was used to be performed mainly by the people of the Maras and Pawi communities of Mizoram. They remain the best exponents of the dance to date. Like Rallu Lam, Solakia was also performed in earlier time to celebrate a victory in war. Marked with five principal movements, the dance seeks to recapture the actions of a hero at war.Sarlamkai
One of the most impressive Mizo community dances, Sarlamkai is a variation of Solakia. The two dances are almost identical. The only difference lies in the dress and tempo. No song is sung; only gongs or cymbals or drums are used to beat time.
The land of enchanting hills has yet another dance to its credit - Par Lam. Girls attired in colourful dresses, with flowers tucked in their hair, dance to the tune of songs sung by themselves. The principal movement in the dance involves the waving of hands. The most popular song sung for the dance : Far from the mountain the gay little stream, rippling along, rippling alwong.