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Mizoram Dances
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Some of the major dances of Mizoram are Cheraw, Khuallam, Chheih Hla (Chheih lam) and Sawlakia. Besides these, various dances like Chai, Rallu Lam, Sarlamkai and Par lam are also performed. These dances are performed on certain festivals, marriages or any other occasions.


Cheraw is the most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizos. This dance was brought by the forefathers of Mizos when they left their homes in far-east Asia. In earlier days, the dance was performed to ensure a safe passage for the departed souls of mothers who died at childbirth, so that she may enter the abode safely. But nowadays, Cheraw dance is performed on any occasion. Cheraw is a dance of sanctification and redemption performed with great care, precision and elegance.

Cheraw Dance, Mizoram

In this dance, long bamboo sticks are used, so it is also known as the Bamboo Dance. The dancers step alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of horizontal bamboos, held against the ground by people sitting face to face on either side, in a graceful manner. They tap the bamboos in rhythmic beats. The bamboos, placed horizontally, are supported by two bases, one at each end. The bamboos, when clapped, produce a sound which forms the rhythm of the dance. The patterns and stepping of the dance have many vibrations.


In Mizo language, Khual means a guest and lam means dance. So, Khuallam is the dance of the guest. The Mizos, in the pre-Christian days, believed that the soul, after death went either to 'Pialral' or paradise, or 'Mitthi Khua', a land of sorrow and misery. To have a place in paradise, one had to prove one's mettle either in war or in hunting or by being a man of distinction in society. To claim a distinguished place in society, one had to perform various ceremonies which included offering community feasts and dances. These ceremonies performed together, were known as 'Khuangchawi'. While performing Khuangchawi one was obliged to invite relatives from nearby villages. So, the guests entered the arena of the Khuangchawi. The dance is performed by men dressed in Puandum, to the tune of gongs and drums.

Chheih Lam

The Chheih Lam dance is performed over a round of rice beer. This dance is performed on any occasion, usually in the evenings. It symbolizes the end of a day’s work on the fields. The lyrics in triplets are normally fresh and on the spot compositions, representing their heroic deeds and escapades and also praising the honoured guests. It is a dance that embodies the spirit of joy and exhilaration. The Chheih lam dance is performed on the Chheih hla song. The song is sung to the beats of a drum or bamboo tube or clapping of hands. People squat on the floor in a circle while a dancer stands in the middle reciting a song with various movements of limbs and body. An expert Chheih dancer performs his part in such a manner that the people around him leave their seats and join the dance.

Sawlakia Dance, Mizoram

The Sawlakia dance was performed mainly by the people of the Maras and Pawi communities of Mizoram. Like Rallu lam, Sawlakia was also performed in earlier times to celebrate a victory in war. The dance is marked with five principal movements, and recapture the actions of a hero at war. Men and women stand in profile, while the hero, holding a sword and a shield, dances in the middle on the gong beats.


Chai is a festival dance. It is a community dance where men and women stand one after another in a circle, and hold each other on the shoulder and the nape. The dancers dance and swing their feet to the tune of the song, sung in chorus by all of them, while a drummer and gongman beat their instruments used in the dance. The Chai dance presents a grand show, but is not performed on the stage. In olden days, the Chai dancers used to consume rice-beer continuously while dancing, so they did not know when to stop.

Rallu Lam

Rallu Lam is not a dance, but is rather a celebration or a rite in honour of a victorious warrior. When a warrior comes back after a successful campaign, he is given a warm and colourful welcome by the village Chief. The celebration consists of a re-enactment of the warrior's heroic exploits. The mode of celebration varies from village to village.


Sarlamkai is one of the most impressive community dances of Mizos and a variation of Sawlakia dance. The two dances are almost same. But, the only difference is in their dress and tempo. No song is sung, only gongs or cymbals or drums are used. Nowadays, Sarlamkai has been taken up by most of the schools in Mizoram for cultural activities.

Par Lam

The Par lam is a new dance and has become a part of the Mizo culture. In the Par lam dance, the girls dressed in colourful dresses, with flowers tucked in their hair, dance to the tune of songs sung by themselves. The principal movement in the dance involves the waving of hands. A couple of boys provide music by playing guitars.

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