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Origin and Meaning of Nepali Dance

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Overview Origin and Meaning of Nepali Dance
Nepali dances have evolved from the time when Nepal was established and the cultures started to
be followed by the people. Nepal has got an ancient history of dance and the dances are
performed as a symbol of happiness and pleasure.

The Nepali dances give respect to different cultures, ethnicities, traditional backgrounds and
communities. These dances generate value to the community and are great sources of
entertainment. The dances have been followed from the time of origin of human civilizations and
different forms of dances have been practiced by the people.

There are mainly two types of dances that have been practicing by the Nepali community for a
long time. One type of dance is called the classical dance which is based on ancient classics and
another type of dance is a folk dance which is based on folk songs and music.

Nepali Classical Dance


Nepali classical dance is the type of dance which is performed with the help of music but not to
be played on an electronic instrument. It describes the particular classical songs or music and
requires the particular types of steps for the dance. The people choose a particular type of
costume for performing a particular type of classical dance.

List of Classical Dances of Nepal:

1. Kumari Dance

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It is one of the ancient classical dances of Nepal which is dedicated to living Goddesses
“Kumari”. During the famous Indra Jatra festival of the Newari community, the living
Goddesses Kumari is decorated with impressive ornaments. There will be a crowd of thousands
of Nepali for paying homage to the living Goddesses Kumari.

2. Manjushree Dance

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Manjushree dance is one of the popular classical dances which is performed and dedicated to
Manjushree. It is one of the traditional ritual dances which is also known as Charya Nritya. The
dance requires special costumes and jewelry dedicated to Manjushree.

It is said that worshipping Manjushree gives the wisdom and intelligence to the devotees. He is
always special to Nepalese because according to the Buddhist legends, Manjushree came with
his two wives from China for paying the homage to the self-existing flame in Swayambhunath.

3. Panache Buddha Dance

This dance is performed to represent the Pancha Buddha which means five Buddha. There are
five dancers with their own particular posture, color, and direction. The five Buddhas are
Vairochana ”The Brilliant One”, Aksobhaya ”The Inshakable”, Ratnasambhava ” The Matrix of
Jewel”, Amitabha ”The Infinite Light”, and Amoghasiddhi” The Infallible Realization”.

Different costumes are used by the dancers which are the symbolic representation to the sky,
earth, water, fire, and wind. This is called a ballet known as Charya dance. This dance is
performed representing the Buddha’s teachings as well.

4. Bajrayogini Dance

Bajrayogini dance is one of the ancient classical dances of Nepal and there are four tantric
goddesses in Kathmandu valley according to Buddhism. This dance is performed in order to
please the goddesses Bajrayogini of Sankhu and the dance is characterized by the symbolic
movements of the hands is skillfully timed with the general body movements and facial
expressions.

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This dance gives a strong sense of protection, preservation, anger, and emotions and is
performed mainly in the Buddhist temples during special occasions. This dance has gained a lot
of popularity today in Nepali society.

5. Arya Tara Dance

Arya Tara dance is one of the popular classical dances which is dedicated to Arya Tara better
known as “The Holy Mother”. The songs of the dance talks about the various qualities of Arya
Tara and the dance is performed in the special rituals wearing ceremonial dresses.

Nepali Folk Dance


Nepali folk dance is the traditional dance which is performed in Nepal with the help of folk
music and song. It describes the folk culture of any caste and particular tribes. Folk dance makes
the dancers move his/her body as per his/her wish.

The costumes of the community become costumes of folk dancers and folk dance has been
practiced in our community in order to preserve our tradition and culture. It is based on the folk
songs.

List of Popular Nepali Folk Dance:

1. Tamang Selo

Tamang Selo is performed by the Tamangs beating a damphu in solo or in a group. This dance is
also known as damphu-natch and is called Tam-syaba in the tamang language.

The Tamang people are simple, honest and hardworking and love to enjoy dancing and singing.
Since the dance is performed by beating the hand drum it is called damphu dance.

2. Juhari or Dohori Dance

Juhari is the dual dance that is performed in a group during the festivals and in rodighar. There
are two teams of men and women who exchange the lyrical phrases and make the song more
beautiful. Many people enjoy dohori and start dancing on the floor.

3. Chutki Dance

Chhetris, Bahuns, Gurungs, and Magars people enjoy the chutki dance. With the rhythmic beats
of Khaijadi, Chhetris and Bahuns enjoy the dance while Gurung and Magars use Madal for
dancing. These people dance at full speed using body movement.

4. Dhan Nacha

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This is the Limbus dance where the young boys and girls hold each other hand from side to side
swinging their feet in the beat of Chyabrung. This agricultural dance of limbus is called paddy
dance which is performed on the occasion of agricultural activities like paddy transplantation and
harvesting.

5. Karua Dance

Men and men, women and women or men and women of the Magars and Tamangs community
perform the karua dance. It is one of the popular folk dances of our country where Magars and
Tamangs enjoy singing and dancing in their own beat of the music.

6. Balan Dance

Balan dance is the popular folk dance which is performed by the Chhetris and Bahuns during the
religious ceremony. It signifies the importance of the dance which is the performance of “Lilas”
of different gods and goddesses.

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7. Maruni Dance

The male character disguises as women wear long frock like dresses and dances. The other
members sing and make music. It has become a part of the life of the eastern Nepali people of
Sikkim and Darjeeling.

8. Bethi Dance

Bethi dance has panche Baja and is performed during the resetting time of the people of Nepal.
These practices have been followed for a long time and have become a part of our lives.

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9. Sorathi Dance

It is just like maruni dance and is known as madalay-nach which is performed once in a year.
Especially in rodighar, Sorathi is performed and many people enjoy the pleasure of dance
because it has some traditional and cultural significance.

It is the popular dance in the Gurung community which has a great dance tradition. In this dance,
the main dancer representing the Jaisinge Raja dances in turn with sixteen female dancers who
represent the sixteen queens. Two male dancers dance beating the drums and madal is also
played while dancing.

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10. Sakela Sili Dance

It is the dance performed by the Rais during the festival of sakela. It is the longest group dance
and it continues for many days. The Rai people and their culture and traditions will be
demonstrated by the dance performed as sakela sili.

11. Lakhe Dance

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It is the popular dance practiced by the Newari community during the festivals. The individual
who dances as lakhe wears masks and appears as a monster to the other people.

12. Matrikastam Dance

This is one of the popular mask dance performed by the Newar community during the Dashain
festivals. It reflects the culture and traditions of the newari community and has become part of
their lives.

13. Jungwa Dance

It is one of the ceremonial dances which is performed by the Tamang priest. The Tamang people
who have faith in their culture and traditions enjoy the Jungwa dance to the fullest.

14. Mhendomaya Dance

The Tamang men and women form two separate row and dance together. This type of dance is
similar to the Kaura and Cholmu dances. This popular dance has been practiced by the Tamang
people and it has reflected the culture and tradition of these Tamang people.

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15. Sangini Dance

This is the dance performed by the Chhetri and Bramins women during the festival of Teej. This
is the dance performed by the women holding the diyo or carrying Kalash on the head. It is the
slow dance that depends upon the movement of hand and feet.

16. Jhyaware Dance

It is one of the most popular dances practiced by the Nepali community. The dance reflects
ancient Nepali culture and traditions.

17. Deura Dance

It is performed by the Damai community. In this dance, Naumati Baja is played and dance is
performed.

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18. Khukuri Nach

It is performed by the brave Nepali soldiers. It is performed holding the khukuri in the hands. It
is performed to represent the power and pride.

19. Jhyaure Dance

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This type of dance is popular in the Gandaki zone which is performed by the young boys and
girls to express the joy of meeting their lovers. This has become a part of the modern life of the
young community of the Gandaki zone.

20. Tappa Dance

This dance is popular in Dang which starts as a slow dance and then speeds up in the end. It is
performed with the beating of madal.

21. Yak and Yeti Dance

This dance is performed paying the homage to yaks since yaks are used for carrying goods in the
high Himalayas, the dance is performed for the remembrance of the yaks.

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22. Newari Dhime Dance

This Newari dance is performed by the Newari community during the harvest seasons. It is said
that the dance is originated during the 13th century and is associated with the high culture.

23. Sherpa Dance

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The Sherpa dance is performed by the sherpas of the high Himalayas while meeting friends and
relatives. These people have their own traditions and culture and work throughout the year. In
order to have relief, they sometimes sing and dance.

24. Bhojpuri Dance

It is the dance practiced in the Terai region of the country where the young people perform the
dance in the autumn and spring season to attract each other.

25. Dhimal Dance

The Dhimal people who reside in the eastern part of the country perform this dance in a group.
Both males and females wear traditional costumes of fishing during this dance.

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26. Ghatu Dance

This dance is also known as ‘Bara Mase Ghatu’ which is performed by the unmarried girls. This
dance is popular in the Gandaki zone.

27. Khali Dance

This is the dance performed using madal where the young girls and boys dance together in
chautari teasing and flirting each other. The young boys and girls can win their wives and men if
they win in the contests.

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28. Jhijhiya Dance

It is the dance performed by the young boys in dashami and the women carry lanterns with holes
and Diyos inside it. The women dance with the lanterns on the head, they dance in such a way
that the holes in the lanterns can be counted. It is performed mainly to protect people from evil
spirits.

29. Chandi Dance

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The Chandi dance is performed by the Kirat Rais people to pray Lord Shiva and goddesses
Parvati for peace and success in their lives. The people worship gods and goddesses and dance
for good crops.

30. Peacock Dance

The male peacock which is the symbol of holly bird starts to spread its feathers and dance when
there cloud and thunder. The dancer pretends to be the peacock and dance like a peacock.

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31. Jhankri Dance

Witch doctors play a significant role in the life of rural people. The witch doctors perform a
different kind of dance with different postures and gestures while treating sick people.

Conclusion,

The dance of Nepal is worth watching because it is performed with unique music and songs.
There are many Nepali dance images that portray the ancient dance history of our country. Nepal
is rich in classical, cultural and folk dances and the proper conservation is our duty.

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