Have you ever jumped double Dutch? That game where two people stand opposite each other and swing two jump ropes and you jump in the middle, without getting your legs entangled in the ropes? A dance called ‘Cheraw’ in Mizoram, India works the same way but uses bamboo sticks instead of jump ropes!
In this group dance, a row of men is seated facing another row of men, holding long bamboos horizontally in between. If you were flying above them, it would look like big bamboo stripes with men sitting at each end of each bamboo.
Women dressed in colorful Mizo costumes enter the bamboo rows and dance in and out of them. Men tap the bamboos on the ground or open and close them to create beats. As time passed, gongs and drums were used to add music.
Those watching Cheraw fear that the women’s legs may get caught between the bamboos! However, Cheraw dancers are so skilled that this rarely ever happens.