“Dancing is the poetry of the foot.” -John Dryden
Dance is the expression of the soul twirling on the melody of life. Prefixed with music and sufficed by happiness, dance is the ultimate hidden language of the body. Sikkim, being the ideal location for wanderlusts displays a potpourri of indigenous culture and heritage. Its cultural extravagance extends to the numerous dance forms in the state that showcase the traditions, religions, history and art of Sikkim. The folk dances and music are an indispensable part of Sikkim Culture. The entire populace of Sikkim can be broadly categorized into three major groups; Bhutias, Nepalis and Lepchas.
Mask Dance is the prominent dance of Sikkim and among others, there are dance forms like Singhi Chaam , Yak Chaam, Lu Khangthamo, Gha to Kito, Chi Rimu, Gnungmala Gnunghey, Be Yu Mista and Tashi Zaldha. Maruni, Tamang Selo, Dhaan Naach, Dau Ra Jane and Sebru Naach are the distinctive dance forms of the Nepalese populace and the Lepchas revel in Zo-Mal-Lok, Chu Faat, Kar Gnok Lok, Dharma Jo, Mon Dryak Loks, Tendong Lho Faat and Mun Hait Lok. Rechungma and Talachi. All the communities in Sikkim have their own dance forms.
Here is a list of famous dance forms in Sikkim to get you moving with zeal and exhilaration.
- Mask Dance:
This the one of the most prominent dance forms in Sikkim. This dance form exemplifies flawless footwork with grace and is celebrated on the 18th and 19th days of the 11th month of the Tibetan Buddhist Calendar. Mask Dance is divided into mainly three types- Enchey Chaam, Rumtek Chaam and Gouthor Chaam. Each of these types have their own significance and are performed by wearing casually painted masks, ritual swords and dazzling jewels.
This famous dance form of Sikkim is oldest dance form performed by the Nepalese and remarks the homecoming of lord Rama from the exile or Deepawali or Tihar. During the celebrations, Maruni dancers ornately dress in colorful costumes, parkle with ornaments and nose rings ceiled “dungris” and ago on a house to house visit. The dancers are usually convoyed by a clown called “Dhatu waray”. Sometimes, ‘Naumati Baja’, which is a nine instrument orchestra, is also ushered by Maruni.
- Yak Chaam & Singhi Chaam:
These are prominent Tibetian dance forms. Yak Chaani is performed to honor the yak, an animal on which man is completely dependent upon for survival at high altitudes while Singhi Chaam or Snow Lion Dance is performed to celebrate the scared Mount Khangchendzong which looks like the legendary snow lion and is considered as an important cultural symbol of the State.
This special dance is performed on occasions like childbirth, marriage and other social gatherings to show gratitude towards God for his continued blessings. It is a specific type of Sikkimese dance which is celebrated to rejoice the occasions which bring happiness and enjoyment.
- Tamang Selo:
This popular dance form of Nepalese is performed on occasions like marriage ceremony, childbirth and village fairs. It illustrates the ‘Tamangs’ community of the Nepalese. The dance is performed accompanied with the harmonious tunes of ‘Damphoo’, a musical instrument that the dancers carry in their hands.
- Tashi Yangku Dance:
This dance form is presented by the Bhutia community of Sikkim for assuaging the Gods and praying for continuing prosperity and growth in the region. The Tashi Yangku is believed to bring in good fortune to the land and in it, the dancers move musically to the sacred hymns and chants voiced by monks.
The magical land of Sikkim blanketed with coral reefs, ice-capped mountains, meandering lakes and scenic beauty makes it one of the must visit place for the wanderlusts. Trekking in Sikkim is also one activity that attracts the adventure seekers to the place. The state is indeed mesmeric.