States of India
Chheihlam' originated after the year 1900 on the lines of the songs known as 'Puma Zai' and the dance known as 'Tlanglam'. It is a dance that embodies the spirit of joy and exhilaration. It is performed to the accompaniment of a song called 'Chheih hla'. People squat around in a circle on the floor, sing to the beat of a drum or bamboo tube while a pair of dancers stand in the middle, recite the song and dance along with the music. It was a dance performed over a round of rice beer in the cool of the evening. The lyrics are impromptu and spontaneous on the spot compositions recounting their heroic deeds and escapades and they also praise the honored guests present in their midst. While singing the song accompanied by sound produced by beating of the drum or clapping of hands, an expert dancer performs his dance chanting verses with various movements of the body, with limbs close to the body and crouching low to the ground.
As the tempo rose and the excitement increases, people squatting on the floor leave their seats and join him. Guests present are also invited to join the dance. Today 'Chheihlam' is performed on any occasion with colorful costumes, normally in the evening when the day's work is over.