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Thakurani Jatra keeps interest alive in tiger dance

Devotees dressed as tigers in a procession to the temporary shrine to offer puja in Berhampur on Saturday night.- Photo: Lingaraj Panda  

The biennial Thakurani Jatra of Berhampur has kept the interest and enthusiasm of the common masses alive towards the famous tiger folk dance of south Odisha.

During this festival several persons don special tiger dance attire as homage to goddess Budhi Thakurani. Their bodies are painted in unique stripes of Royal Bengal tiger. These human tigers add extra glitz to the carnival spirit of Thakurani Jatra although other devotees dress up as mythological characters. Those dressing up as tiger have to perform at least some basic steps of this famous folk form during their march through the streets. Although these amateur performers are not perfect in their steps, the ritualistic tradition has kept the folk dance alive, said Bighneswar Sahu, convenor of Odisha Folk Foundation.

The tiger dance of Berhampur is said to have emerged from a tribal dance form. It was codified by Late Padmashree Bhagaban Sahu, who had learnt it from several tribal gurus. This folk dance form was main element in the critically acclaimed film Bagh Bahadur which was choreographed by Late Sahu. Mr Bighneswar, who is the grandson of the great folk dancer Bhagaban Sahu, said the technique and grammar of real tiger dance is quite different from the tiger dance performances by devotees during Thakurani Jatra. He added that although the number of performers during Thakurani Jatra has increased, real artistic performers have got reduced. But according to Mrinalini Bhuyan of Berhampur, tiger dance performances by devotees during this festival makes her proud of this folk dance.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 1:28:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/thakurani-jatra-keeps-interest-alive-in-tiger-dance/article7144485.ece

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