About Dhimsa – Folk Dance of Andhra Pradesh

Dhimsa is a kind of dance in which young and old, men and women of Valmiki, Bagata, Khond and Kotia tribes living in the enchanting Araku Valley in the hilly tracts of Vishakhapatnam district Andhra Pradesh dance alike.Dhimsa is a dance of the ‘Hill Tribes’.

Dhimsa Dance basically tries to establish companionship and closeness between the neighbouring villages. The neighbouring communities join their hands together and this is probably one of the most imperative aspects of Dhimsa. This fact also separates the Dhimsa Dance from other tribal dances.

This dance is usually performed in March and April, and on important occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, hunting festivals and yearly celebrations.

Dhimsa Dance on various festive occasions involves a group of 15 to 20 women elegantly dressed up in their traditional tribal attire and ornaments dance to the tunes of tribal musical instruments.

Origin of Dhimsa Dance

There are 12 varieties of Dhimsa tribal dance and Origin can be traced to the Koraput Area the home to Ghond Tribe. It was a major event at the Dasara and the Rath Yatra celebration at Jeypore during the reign of Vikramadeva Varma, the last Maharaja of Jeypore, who was a great patron of tribal, folk and classical arts. Dhimsa is popular within the Vishakhapatnam district and performed in the local fairs and festivals. People related to agriculture and farmers in Vishakhapatnam practice this dance form. The 'Porja' caste women perform this dance, praising deity for welfare of the domestic life.

It is performed by tribal people located in the eastern parts of Andhra Pradesh, and in some tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Dhimsa is usually practiced on festive occasions, marriages, and other special celebrations. According to critics, Dhimsa originally belongs to Orissa and Koraput.

Style of Dance

One can see mixture of costume, style, enthusiasm, lyrics of tribal’s of Assam in this Dhimsa dance, and definitely makes it one of the most beautiful colourful dances of the country.. This dance form is quite expressive. The movements of the feet and the hands by the group dominate the dance. It is mainly performed by around 15 to 20 women making a chain. They wear typical ornaments and dresses. The women from front carries peacock feather in hand. The dance is performed in unison holding their hands together at wrist. A newly wed girl performs this dance for sure as it a prayer for have a happy and peaceful married life ahead. This dance is mandatory for them.

The dance is accompanied to the tunes of musical instruments including Thuduma, Dappu and Mori. An elemental rhythm and animated, quick steps with manoeuvres resembling the darting of a centipede are the distinctive features of the dance form. One gets the impression that it is the collective performance that matters with each of them complementing the other and merging into a unifying whole.

Duration of each dance remains approximately for 10 minutes. The dance is mainly performed by females but sometimes males also join in.
The Dhimsa Dance form has different forms:

  • Boda Dhimsa
  • Gunduri Dhimsa
  • Goddi Beta Dimsa
  • Tola Dhimsa
  • Kunda Dihimsa
  • Baya Dhimsa

The Boda Dhimsa is a ritual dance which is done to honour the village deity. The performance of Gunderi Dhimsa or Usku Dance involves male dancers swinging with peacock feathers and asking the women to participate along with them. In Goddi Beta, there is synchronized backward bending and forward bending movement, which is a pleasing sight. The Pottar Tola dance symbolizes the picking up of dried leaves from the ground. Bhag Dhimsa symbolizes fleeing from the command of a ferocious tiger. Natikari has serpentine actions that would allow the performers to offer their prayers to Goddess Kali during Diwali Festival. Many other forms of Dhimsa Dance exist, which are unique in different ways.
Dhimsa Dance provides an impression to the onlookers of a collective performance that matters with each of them complementing the other and merging into a unifying whole.

Music in Dhimsa

The Dhimsa dance encompasses unique rhythm. Various types of instruments accompany this dance, which includes, Mori, Kiridi, Tudumu, Dappu and Jodukommulu. The performers dance to drum beats. This dance performance includes the singer and the dholak man. The music and the instruments are exclusively played by the men folk in the honour of their local deity, while the rhythmic dance is performed by women folk.

The instruments used with the dance are: oboe-type with finger holes; clay kettledrum beaten with two leather straps (tamuk; two-handed cylindrical drum (dhol), one side played with one hand, the other with a stick; and a small clay kettledrum beaten with two cane sticks.

Accompanied by wind and percussion instruments, the Dhimsa dance changes by the music.

Costumes and Jewellery of the Dhimsa Dancers

Dhimsa Dance presents an enthralling sight as because of the earthy colours of the tribal wear. To perform this dance, the artists dress in typical tribal dresses and ornaments. Dhimsa dance form's attires are majorly depending on the dancing steps and movements which they do, it does not contain much focus over the expression of the dancers. The attire is colourful; shades of red, yellow and green are worn and are called girijans attire themselves.

Dhimsa dancewith colourfulcostumesis the main attraction of the region depicting rich culture and tradition.

India is rich in Folk dances which contribute greatly to the cultural, artistic heritage of India. Every dance form of the Andhra Pradesh connects to every cultural aspect of the state.

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