Visit any tribal village in Koraput district and you will find one thing in common. Young girls forming chains by clutching each other at the shoulders and waist and dancing to the tune of traditional musical instruments. This is Dhemsa for you, a special form of tribal dance.
According to tribal researchers, Dhemsa is an age-old dance form of the tribals in Koraput district and quite popular among the Parajas, Gadabas, Bhumias, Bhotras and Kandhs.
“Dhemsa is a unique folk dance form. It has a certain composition, style, rhythm, body language, traditional costumes, hairstyle, foot steps, etc. Its music is also exceptional. Like the life of tribals, there is nothing artificial about this dance and this is the main reason for its wide acceptance,”It is not only performed on festive occasions in tribal villages, but also is a method of relaxation for tribals after a hard day’s work. For them, it is the prime mode of entertainment which also helps in restoring harmony and brotherhood in their communities. It is performed while welcoming a new guest into one’s family as well as to get over the sorrow caused by the death of a family member. It fosters bonds between two lovers, which culminates into marriage.
Though there is no evidence regarding the origin of the dance, tribals say it has been passed on from one generation to another for ages and it is an integral part of their lives. The importance of the dance in the life of the tribals can be easily understood by the fact that almost every tribal village has a Dhemsa troupe and every individual takes part in it.
But researchers feel that this unique dance form has not got its due like its contemporary folk dances of other regions. “Dhemsa has neither been properly highlighted by the media nor has got recognition like other forms of dances in the country. (post by Debasish Mishra)