Chadya Danda nata is a folk dance that is part of a series of dances that are performed during the Dandanata festival which is celebrated for more than a fortnight in the month of Chaitra or March -April in honour of the Shiv and Parvati, his consort. It is a Hindu religious tradition that is still carried on in rural south Orissa, especially in the Ganjam district.
Description of ChadyaDandanata Dance
DandaNata is a religious ritual of a series of dances performed during the holy month of Chaitra in rural Orissa. Danda means penance and the participants pray and fast by having only one meal a day for several days before the ritual actually begins.
Only members perform these dances and there is no caste distinction or preference as to who can perform these dances and who cannot. In a Danda party or group there are 13 members who are called “Bhoktas”.
A series of distinct dances form the repertoire of the ritual. The first dance is called “Parva”. The couple called Prabhakar, the male performer and Prabhakarani or the female part played by a male, dressed in festive finery when performing this dance. A stole like piece of cloth and a bamboo plate are the props used by the male and his counterpart in this dance for which the music is played on the Dhol and Mahuri, the next dance is called Hara Parvati dance which is followed by a group dance performed by “bhoktas” called Fakir and Fakirani. The dances that follow in quick succession are performed by Savara and Savariani, Chadeya and Chadauni.
The main performance is a dance drama by the whole party is called “Leela” which is based on a story from the Indian Epics; Ramayana or Mahabharata or the Puranas. At the end of the Leela, the last dance is performed by the Patarasaura and Patarasauriani.The Binakar or PataBhokta, who is the leader of the Bhoktas closes the ceremony with his best songs and dances.
The songs that are sung during these dances are based on Hindu mythology are of Odissi folk style.There are other entertaining themes that have an element of humour in it. The music is also typical and many musical instruments are used during the performance.
Status of Dance today
The DandaNata ritual dances have originated from tribal dances but have been greatly influenced by other cultural influences such as Yatra and Pala also of Orissa state.
As are all ancient traditions, DandaNata is also adapting to modern times and is becoming more contemporary with respect to music, dance, props and costumes, styles and make up. Although the original simplicity and traditional traits are lost, it cannot be helped.