Londa Ke Naach (londa ke nache) is a rare dance form preserved by the Indians of Suriname, in which male dancers called “Naachaniyas” dress like women and perform at births, weddings, fairs, and other social occasions. The dance attends artistically to individuals and groups among the audience. Like all accomplished artists anywhere, the virtuoso Londa Ke Naach dancer performs for long hours, (3-4 hours) and expresses the progress of the ritual and musical drama in dance.
This style came with East Indian immigrants to the West Indies form Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, North India, during the 19th century and early 20th centuries (Indian indentureship period).
It belongs to the ancestral Kotha dance of the Bhojpuri people. In the older indentured plantation days in Suriname the dancers performed in pairs, sang songs and told the stories. The Nachaniya was accompanied by a Bhar, a clown who was bearded and generally a second-rate dancer, but an excellent comedian.
Over time, the clown disappeared. This style of dance retained its links with both Asian Indian and Indo-Caribbean traditions. The dance begins with a Sumiran, an invocation to the presiding deities of the arts and culture. Singers call Bhavani while the dancer is praying to Mother Earth for protection.
Londa Ke Naach is a Devi (Goddess) with her crown and resplendent a full skirt of 5 colors representing the adi Shakti (male-female creative oneness). These costumes are joyous, bright and beautiful. Londa Ke Naach has been preserved by generations of East Indians in Suriname and by the immigrant Indo-Surinamese community living in the Netherlands.
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