What is Panthi Dance?
Panthi dance is one of the important dance forms of Chhattisgarh State of India. This Indian folk dance is basically a prominent ritual of the Satnami community of Chhattisgarh. The dance is very expressive in its depiction and is performed to the accompaniment of melodious songs. The dance reflects the rich cultural heritage and traditional legacies of the indigenous tribal groups of the region. It bears religious overtones and epitomizes the unique dance styles of the state. The district of Durg has great importance in the history of Chattisgarh as it is one of the main communities from the ancient time. Panthi is mainly danced to depict the importance of Durg district to the people. Performed on Maghi Purnima – the birth anniversary of Guru Baba Ghasidas, the dance is evolving still to include a variety of steps and patterns.
Panthi is a dance of Satnami community in Chhattisgarh. Satnami is one of the tribal habitats of the region. The dance is devotional in nature and has a religious connotation. The Satnamis believe in Nirvana philosophy and their dance conveys this ideology. On the occasion of Maghi Purnima which marks the birth anniversary of Satnami Guru Ghasi Das, Panthi dance is performed by the tribal community of Chhattisgarh. One of the favorite past time of the Satnamis, Panthi dance is enacted with tremendous excitement among the natives. The dance is unique in its music, rhythm and form reverberated through the habitation of the state.
It is mainly performed by the male dancers. The performers dance around a Jaitk-hamb set up for the occasion, to the songs eulogizing their spiritual head. The songs also reflect the Nirvana philosophy, conveying the spirit of renunciation of their Guru and the teachings of saint poets like Kabir, Guru Ramdas Ji, Dadu, etc.
The performance of this dance requires great flexibility and stamina as it involves various challenging steps. The performance begins with slow body movements. The leader of the group sings a song while the rest follow the refrain. Dancers with bent torsos and swinging arms continue to dance till carried away by their devotion. As the rhythm quickens, they indulge in acrobatics and even form human pyramids. The dancers who participate in this dance are usually the people or member of Panthi Nritya Mandir.
Panthi dancers dress themselves in colourful traditional attires. To accompany the attire they also wear minimal ornaments. The costumes represent vibrant and dynamic cultural life of the local inhabitants of Chhattisgarh Region.
The dancers mainly dance to the rhythm of traditional folk instruments which comprise of Mridanga and Jhaanj. Occasionally, the performers also dance to the loud beats of the drums.