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Folk Dance, Songs & Performing Arts of Bihar
Karma Dance

Karma of Bihar is a most important folk dance among the tribal populace of Bihar. Bihar's karma dance is associated with the karma tree representing fertility and plenty and continues on for three days beginning on the eleventh day of 'Bhadra'. Karma dances are performed by almost all tribal communities. The Mundas, the Gonds, the Santhals and the Oraons, all perform karma dances. They can sometimes be arranged out of season to celebrate some significant occasion of the village, although that is quite rare. The traditional Karma Dance gets its name from the Karma tree which stands for fortune and good luck. The dance begins with the planting of the tree, followed by circular formations around it. In this group dance, there are usually as many men as women dancers. The dancers form a two-tiered formation and the movements are usually backward and forward, towards and away from each other. The dancers swing to the rhythm of the drum and the clapping of the women folk. Later, breaking the formation, the dancers thread in and out and the body movements involve bending of the torso and the knees. The dancers put their arms around the waists of their neighbours and form semicircular rows. Each row of dancers sings and dances alternately to the accompaniment of the Mandur and Timki. Drums beat fast and loud and the dance ends on a happy note. The choreography is imaginative and the themes of the songs are contemporary and relevant.

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