TRADITIONAL DANCES OF GOA

 
   

Chappay / Zemudo                                                                                     

The taluka of Sattari is located on the North Eastern side of Goa.  It is one place in Goa which is filled with a lush forest cover. A lot of cashew plantations are also found here. The Western Ghats and the Mhadei sanctuary are the major natural landmarks in Sattari.

Vast sections of the Dhangar community which were once nomadic have settled in these highlands of Goa.

Bhagi Zore (Dhangar community women): “We, our people, are shepherds. We stay at one place for about 10 years, but once the grass is eaten by the goats and cattle and there’s nothing left to graze, we leave and settle in another place. That is why we don’t have a permanent place.”

Known for their occupation of cattle rearing, this community can be found concentrated in many parts of Sattari. Many of the dhangar families live in mud and thatched houses.

Bhagi Zore: “Going hunting in the forest, farming, tending to the animals, milking, these are the jobs that the man do; We women do all the other work like grinding, cleaning, making curd and other milk products, besides selling the produce to those that come home to buy. We receive the money and use it to buy our home’s needs. This is the occupation of our ‘Dhangar’ people.”

The Chappay is a major dance form of the Dhangars community.  

After the rituals. They begin to dance accompanied by the slow beats of the musical instruments.

The rhythm of the dancers gradually increases as the music is stepped up. The footwork involves the lifting and sliding of the legs accompanied by hand gestures.

The dancers wear a headgear called the ‘dhangari pagdi’ and attire themselves in ceremonial outfits. They use the colour red on their outfits be it on the embroidered cloth or the red bordered sash. They also attach on their foot a ‘vakyaa’, which is a hollow ring of metal. The ‘vakyaa’ has metal balls inserted into it. When the metal balls come in contact with the hollow ring, a rattle like sound is produced.

Pandurang Phaldesai: “If we want to see this dance form in Goa, then one can only find it in the ‘Dhangar’ community, who are shepherds.”

Zemado (dances only by the women of the Dhangar community)
The Zemmado is a variant of the fugdi. The dance begins after a couplet is sung. A semblance of the routine life of the people can be seen in this dance. The gestures and movements of the dancers are an imitation of gait and movements of goats and cattle. For instance, in the Zemmado, the women dancers will have one dance sequence which alludes to goats lifting their front limbs to eat the leaves of a tree.

Bhami Shelk: “The people dance fugdi during ‘Dushera’ (festival). This ‘fugdi’ is danced by bending and not standing upright.

If we dance standing, then our people yell at us. We should only bend and dance fugdi. Only our men dance standing upright.”

 The remarkable confluence of the quaint sounds the women make, swift footwork, and actions adds an element of liveliness and verve to the Zemmado.

Go back to Traditional Dances of Goa

 
   
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