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Daily Helping for April 28th, 2021 – Hmangaihsanga & Nancy – Chheih Lam

A photo of dancers Hmangaihsanga & Nancy onstage, standing side by side, mid-performance, with their hands extended to their sides, looking at each other.

I swear I didn’t plan this, but once again today’s helping comes from the Mizoram region of northeast India. Last month I featured the Cheraw dance. This month I discovered the Chheih lam dance by dancers Hmangaihsanga Pautu and Nancy Hlawnchhing, billed simply as Hmangaihsanga & Nancy. According to Google, this dance is typically performed in the evenings over rice beer, with two or more dancers performing in a circle for onlookers. Interestingly, both the song and the dance are often improvised, with recent local events typically providing the content for the music.

This particular performance is from Mizo Nite by the Bangalore Mizo Association, so I’m not entirely sure how much of this was improvised. But there is definitely an unscripted feeling to this performance. As if Hmangaihsanga & Nancy had a general sense of how the number would go, but made up the specifics in the moment. Of course, I have no idea if this is actually true, but I love how free spirited it all feels.

Either way, Mizoram has absolutely moved to the top of my “to visit” list once we can all start traveling again. I would love to see these dances in person one day. The music is gorgeous and the energy is infectious. And above all else, it just looks like so much fun. One day…

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!