The Hmars have various kinds of dances for various occasions and ceremonies. Some of the dances have almost been forgotten. Most of the typical Hmar dances are still remembered and performed. Some of the popular dances are-

Hrang Lam is an ancient victory dance. It is performed in honor of the successful hunters and great
Hrang Lam
warriors. The Hrang Lam songs are believed to be among the oldest traditional songs of the Hmar people. They hearken to the past glories as well as to the miseries of the people.

Chawn Lam is the main dance of the Hmar tribe. Chawn Lam is a dance that is performed during the harvesting festival. It is performed both by male and female. The boys and girls are arranged systematically outside the dancing place. Each row is headed by leader of each gender. Then they enter the dancing ground. Each row jumps face to face according to the sounds of drums. Each dance has its specific style of drumming. Gong string, bell bangles are the additional musical instrument which make the dancing more pleasing.

Fahrel Tawk Lam (Bamboo Dance) is the most popular dance of the Hmar tribe. It is performed by the youth on any given day. Often girls dance while the men clap the bamboo poles together.
 Hmar Bamboo Dance

Phiephit Lamis another victory dance performed to the successive tunes produced by small bamboo tubes of different length which are blown with the lips. The different length produces different pitch of sound. The dancers themselves blow the pipes one after the other so as to produce some semblance of a tune, and dance in circle taking forward and backward steps and after each turn one leg is swayed back and forth to the beating of drums and gongs. The man and women are positioned alternately.

Khuol Lam is a colorful dance performed as a gesture of welcome to a distinguished guest. It is a popular dance and performed very often.

Vaituksi is a war dance and is performed duringa big festivals. Each of the dancers carries a shield in his left hand and a sword in his right hand. He brandishes the sword and moves the shield swiftly as he dances.

Lal Lam or Vai Lam is a royal dance accorded to the Chief. It resembles the dances of the plains people. It is a special dance performed by two or more persons at the time of the coronation of their Chief or other high officials for the entire community.

Feitung Tawl Lam is a peculiar dance performed with spears at the time of Sa-in-ei festival. This dance may also be called a hunter’s dance as it imitates the movement of the hunter during hunting and stalking of animals and foes.

Dar Lam is a common dance. It is most elaborate and is performed with orchestral music. It is performed to the accompaniment of a set of gongs of different sizes called Dar bu, Theihle (flutes), Rawsem ( a reed instrument) and Chawngpereng ( a bamboo pipe instrument). The dance is performed during the threshing of rice paddy.

There are a number of other less important dances which are performed at random by children, young people at play and are not necessarily connected with any ceremony.

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Sources:
Vanlal T. Bapui, Oral Traditions of the Hmars, 2011 (Assam Institute of Research for Tribals and Scheduled Castes, Guwahati)
Indianetzone.com

Images:Kanglaonline.com, hmararasi.org

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  1. A va lawm um de! Kan hotu haiin ziek ding an tia, ka zawng zek hnungin hi lai hin ka hmu chu. Thanks Virthli

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