States of India
Cheraw is a very old traditional dance of the Mizos. It is believed that the dance had already existed way back in the 1st Century A.D., while the Mizos were still somewhere in the Yunan Province of China, before their migration into the Chin Hills in the 13th Century A.D., and eventually to the present Mizoram. Some of the tribes living in South East Asia have similar dances in one form or the other with different names.
Cheraw' is usually performed on the occasion of 'Buhza Aih' (bumper harvest by an individual family). It is not a community dance but a dance performed by a few selected girls with exceptional skills. It is performed in marriage ceremonies and on the merry-makings to celebrate success. On such occasions huge crowds gather to watch the proud performance of 'Cheraw' dance by the few skillful dancers. It is also performed on moonlit nights. 'Cheraw' is the most popular and colorful dance of the Mizos.
Men sitting face to face on the ground tap long pairs of horizontal and cross bamboo staves open and close in rhythmic beats. Girls in colorful Mizo costumes of 'Punchei', 'Kawrchei'. Vakiria' and 'Yhihna' dance in and out between the beats of bamboo. This dance is now performed in almost all festive occasions. The unique style of the 'Cheraw' is a great fascination everywhere it is performed. Gongs and drums are used to accompany the dance. Today modern music also complements the dance.