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» East India
» Orissa
Region : Coastal Orissa
Performed By : Cowherd Community of Coastal Orissa
Performance Occasions : Makar Sankranti & Nuakhai
Important Places Of Observance : Bolangir & Mayurbahanj Districts

Types Of Kathinacha
"Kathinacha" or Stick dancing is common all over India. In Orissa they are of two varieties, one with comparatively long sticks and the other with short sticks. The cowherd community of coastal Orissa performs the former with long sticks.

'Dusserah', 'Giri Gobardhan Puja' and 'Dola Yatra' (Holi) are the important festivals on the occasion of which the young boys perform the dance. They weave out different geometrical patterns with simultaneous tapping of sticks and singing of traditional songs relating to the sports of Lord Krishna.

The people of the scheduled class of Mayurbhanj and Bolangir perform the other type with smaller sticks. In this, the sticks are about two feet in length and are made of resonant wood to produce percussion. The sticks are held on pairs. The dancers are all young boys who standing in a line begin their dance, striking each other sticks according to the rhythm of the 'Madal'. Two or more singers and drummers move with the dancers.

The Festivities
Following the rhythm of the 'Madal', they increase the speed of various movements until the dance ends in a crescendo of sound produced by the sharp taps of the sticks. 'Makar Sankranti' and 'Nuakhai' festivals are the occasions for this dance. In the district of Bolangir, this is known as 'Kalanga' when the dancers wear costumes like the Karma dancers of the 'Binjhala' community.

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