The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: Sangtam dancing
medium: notes
location: Chimongre Chatongre Chongtore
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:27
text: Sangtam - dancing.
text: Chimongre ronguli - unmarried girls, v. pretty & nice.
text: Hauchare 'A mithan brushing away the flies with its tail'. at weddings, and sometimes for pleasure in the evenings, but not at feasts of merit - they begin by interlacing their arms behind each others' backs and forming a tight ring. Then they cautiously edge round, widdershins, bringing the left foot up behind the right and putting it down on its further side. Then suddenly they get going. The left leg swings out and back and the line goes tossing and swinging round.
text: Ohalu 'Based on the o-ho-o-ho when dragging in a mithan, the feet stamping as they drag'.
text: festivals - feasts.
text: Move round kicking the feet - gently out - then the dance quickens - the feet go nimbly out - kicking and thumping the ground.
text: Hamtu - a dance 'for ending with'
text: Move slowly round - then speed up and the whole ring goes jumping round - and thudding - both feet off the ground.
text: A pretty sight - the slightly rounded haunches, the skirts a sombre scarlet with black bands, clutching the legs just below the knee, the skirts quivering, the necklaces bouncing, the arms clasping the shoulders or holding the buttocks
text: (no drums or male accompaniment) a chanted accompaniment by the girls themselves.
text: Chatongre - also said to be good for dances.
text: Sangtam dances (male) Chongtore.
text: a) The crow dance - 'when a crow alights, it hops about'. The line of youths hold hands, take 3 hops foreward, stamps, does a chassis, then again goes 3 hops out, three hops back, chassis.
text: b) The buffalo dance - 'when a buffalo takes salt or drinks water, it paws the ground. To drive away the flies a buffalo flicks its head'. The line holds hands then each dancer swings his right leg twice across the left and takes a jump back - after that 3 running steps forward - stamp the ground twice - then swing back, swinging the right leg across the left.
text: c) The dead man's goodbye - 'when a man dies his spirit stamps the ground and leaves the earth'. 2 running paces forward - stamp twice - 2 swinging paces back - stamp twice - then three sideways jumps - all the time a chanted He ho he ho. abc) danced at a mithan feast.
text: The general effect - the black tails waving round the bare buttocks, the red shaggy baldrics tossing like a feathered cape, the white cowrie aprons flapping on the thighs, the shadows flickering on the light brown limbs. (at feast of merit - 'feast with a dance')
text: d) Victory dance - when bringing in a head. A swinging step to the left - a hop - then the right foot swung out and back, a hop and then on with another swing to the left.