TRANCE DANCES: Trance or spirit dances are different from ritual dances, although superficially it may appear the same. In a trance dance the dancer becomes a temporary embodiment of either a spirit or a deity; whereas in a ritual dance, the dancers are either worshippers or ritual objects. In a ritual, many kinds of inanimate materials like incense, joss stick, kush grass, burning lamps, etc. and inanimate objects like mask, ideal, icon, etc. are used. In a trance dance, rituals are performed either by a priest or the dancer himself with the sole aim of invoking a spirit or a deity to possess the body of the dancer. Once possessed the dancer is transformed into the involved spirit or deity. He also behaves and talks that way. It is a kind of self-hypnosis under which the dancer goes into a deep trance (Pani, 2000: 19).


Phedangma Dance: These are the trance dances performed by the Limboo shamanistic priests namely, Muhikkum Ongshi, Phejiri Phedangma, Samboko Samba, Yeboko Yaba, and Yeboko Yema, etc. for divination, cure of illness, warding away of evil spirits etc. in the community people. During these dances, the priests become possessed, shriek with excitement, beat the Niyara Hongsing Ke and brass plates in a frenzied state and dance vigorously. They become temporary embodiment of either a spirit or a deity (their own incarnate Sam Sire) to perform the job assigned to them. The recitation of Mundhurns and utterances of spells at this moment are rather different than on other occasions. Usually, they perform such dances moving around the Pengiri Pengkesing, Tongsing or any other altar (Lasso). Such dances can be observed in Phungsook Timma, Tongsing Tookma, Sitongsing Khema, Nehangma, or any other occasion where such trance dance is required to perform the shamanistic functions for the people of the community (Subba,1999: 222).


Lakhey Mask Dance: In the Newar pantheon, dances are numerous anIn the Newar pantheon, dances are numerous and these have been amply described in connection with the Newar festivals. These dances take the theme of the fight between the gods and the demons and idealize the triumph of virtue over evil. In the field of songs, music, dramatics and dances, the Newars are equally skillful. The Newars have their own "Nasa-Khala", an association to train the boys in singing, dancing and music. The Sikkim Newar Sangathan has established an Institute of Newar language and culture to train the Sikkimese Newar boys and girls for different aspects of Newar language and culture.


Out of many masked. dances in the Newar pantheon, Lakhey Masked Dance is one of the traditional classified tantric dances of the Newars. It is a worship dance in the form of a mask. The mask is made of wood and painted to look fearful. The worship dance is performed specially during the Indrajatra festival. Lakhey literally means a demon living in the dense forest. It haunts animals as well as the human beings of different places. Whenever the Lakhey is worshipped and get good worshipping, the animals and the people are supposed to be protected from Lakhey's hunts. It gives a great joy and happiness to the people. The dancer gets sprits of the demon and seems to be in religious trance while he wears sacrosanct Lakhey mask. Other dancers accompany the main dancer. The dancers wear typical Newari clothes and make up. Live musical instruments like Dhoa, Pachhima, Bhusya, Babhoocha and Taa accompany this dance (photo enclosed) (Nasa-Khala, Namthang, South Sikkim, 2006). height="20" valign="top" width="6%">  

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