A big move in support of preserving, protecting and promoting indigenous art will be reflected from 17 to 19 February when Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh hosts India’s first National Tribal Dance and Cultural Festival. The festival will be seen as a vital step to preserving the culture of the endangered tribal communities of Central India.
There is a slow death of the tribal community due to mining and related activities in the rich cultural belt known to house multiple tribes. The environment and human right violations resulting from these activities have created gaping holes in the cultural presence of the indigenous people of this area.
The three-day-long festival hopes to celebrate and preserve the culture through creative workshops for the participating teams and performances by them. The teams would be selected on the basic criteria of being indigenous, endangered and have had little or no exposure yet. There is a team of creative people and activists who want to work towards conserving dying art forms and have come forward to share their knowledge. There would be over 7 participating troupes. The public shows are expected to attract over 1500 people to the auditorium because of the specially curated programmes.
Bundhelkhandi folk dance of Madhya Pradesh is a traditional practice from the Bundelkhand region of the state which will be performed at the festival. There are close to 15 kinds of Bundelkhandi nirttas that are endangered. The festival will have local troupes performing a few of these.
Artists from Tribal agency tract of Andhra Pradesh, home to various stalwarts from the field of dance and music, have 10 well known indigenous practices. Dhimsa dance is one such tribal dance which will be performed at the festival. It will be a performance constituting the young and old as well as men and women of Valmiki, Bagata, Khond and Kotia tribes living in the enchanting Araku Valley in the hilly tracts of Vishakhapatnam district. Troupes from Santhal, Gond and Oraon tribes from Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh will also perform.