Another ceremonial dance of Madhya Pradesh is Chilori. It is a dance performed by girls of tribal communities and in the age group of twelve to sixteen. Usually, sixteen to twenty dancers participate in the dance. It is danced twice every year a fortnight before Diwali and Holi festivals. It is danced everyday till the day of the festival. There is a particular place called akhraa where the dance is performed. The dancers make a circle each holding other’s waist. While dancing the dancers sway alternately to the left and to the right. They wear flowers on the temples above the ears and tie jinglebells (ghungroos) on their ankles. They begin the dance in slower tempo which goes on increasing gradually. They sing while dancing and the songs are called chilori-siring. At the end of each line of the song the dancers take a jump and hit the ground hard with both the feet. No musical instrument is played with the dance. Only on very special occasions Dhol, the drum and Jhanj, the cymbals are played to provide the rhythm.
The Baredi dance is performed by the dancers of Aheer community of Madhya Pradesh. They are also called Yadavas. The dance is believed to have originated by Krishna who belonged to this community of cowherds. It is performed every year just the day after the Diwali festival and danced everyday for a fortnight, i.e. till the night of the full moon. On the first day, the deity called Dulhadev is worshipped. Then the senior most member of the group puts on the forehead of each dancer a dot of sandalwood paste mixed with turmeric. The dancers wear colorful costumes and decorate themselves with ornaments made of cowries. They first perform before Dulhadev and then go and dance before every household of the village. The songs that accompany the dance usually pray God to protect and increase the cows and to bestow prosperity on the community. The instrumental music is provided by drums called dhol and nagada and flutes. At times mridang is played instead of dbol.
On the picturesque hills of Assam lives the comely and sturdy Jaintia tribal community. They perform a ceremonial dance called Lahaw. It is associated with the worship of goddess Rangkit and is performed as an invocation to grant prosperity to the tribe. First the instrumental music is played. The orchestra consists of drums, flute, and cymbal. After a while the women dancers enter the dancing arena. They come tiptoeing. They are followed by the male dancers. The group then forms several units. Each unit has three dancers; one female dancer is flanked on both sides by two male dancers. These units make a pattern that is somewhat diagonal. The men wear dhoti, kurta, and waist-coats. Each of them wears a colorful turban. The girls wear, richly embroidered silk skirts shawls and sashes. They also wear necklaces of various kinds of beads. The dance is accompanied by singing and instrumental music. Two singers lead, the lines are then sung in chorus. The dance is distinctive for its graceful swaying movements and slow tempo.
Karma dance is performed by many tribal communities living in Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, in varying forms and styles. One factor is common that the ceremony of Karma is performed to bring prosperity to the community and a branch of Karma tree is brought and planted around which the dance is performed. Although it is basically a tribal ceremony, a few non-tribal communities also observe it. Invariably a legend is associated with each style of Karma dance. The karma legend associated with the dance prevalent in eastern Madhya Pradesh runs as follows : Once upon a time there was a very benevolent king by name Karmachand. When he was defeated by the army of the neighboring kingdom he fled to the forest. One day he saw some lamps burning at a distance. The king was surprised and went near the lamps. He found that a god was sitting on his throne and young girls are dancing before him. The moment they saw the king they vanished. Karamchand went and fell prostrated at the feet of the god who asked him what he wanted. The king begged the god to return his kingdom to him. The god said that if the king performs Karmapooja he will get back his kingdom. As advised by the god, Karmachand sent unmarried girls to bring a branch of the Karma (kadam) tree which was planted on a sanctified place. The branch was worshipped and the Karma dance was performed throughout the night. In the morning the branch was ritually floated down the river. Immediately the king got the news that his enemies have fled the kingdom. He thus got back his throne. Those who want to avert their misfortune should observe the Karma ceremony exactly as the king did.
The Karma ceremony is held in the lunar month of Ashwin, corresponding to September/October. In the eastern Madhya Pradesh it is performed thrice. The first is held on third day of Ashwin. In this only unmarried girls take part. The second is held on the eleventh day in which both unmarried girls and boys participate. The third is observed just twelve days after the second in which women also take part, irrespective of whether married or unmarried. The rituals and dance remain the same for all the three observances. The Karma observed by the tribal communities of Chhatisgarh is associated with a legend which is different and has some similarity with that prevalent in Orissa. Both tribal and non-tribal communities living in the district of Sambalpur and Phulbani in Orissa observe the Karma festival. Here the ceremony also includes some entertaining items. The legend associated with the Karma of Orissa is as follows : Six sons of a rich merchant set sail in a ship for trade, leaving the youngest at home. When they returned they found that their wives are dancing Karma dance and the youngest brother is playing the drum. Enraged they drove away their wives. The karma god was angry and the wealth of the six brothers vanished. They went to the god and prayed that their wealth may be restored to them. The god said that if they take back their wives and continue to observe the Karma they will regain their vanished wealth. They did exactly as the god wanted them to do and they got back their wealth. From that day Karma festival is being celebrated every year in the month of Ashwin.
In Bihar also a few non-tribal communities like Mahato, Malah, Chamar, etc observe the Karma ceremony like the tribal, but it is held during the rainy season and related to transplanting of paddy.
The Kolam Tullal is another fascinating ceremonial dance of Kerala. Kolam is a highly stylized and colorful mask or headgear or both unified into one. The dancer or actor who wears this, together with appropriate costume is also called a kolam. In Kolam Tullal dancers wearing different kinds of kolams, perform. This dance has a deep association with the Bhagavati cult. The Kolam dancers are brought in a procession by a number of traditionally dressed young girls. Each of them holds a plate of offerings in one hand and an oil-fed lamp in another. The priest wearing jingle bells on his ankles accompany the procession. The Kolams are brought to the stage tastefully decorated with banana stems and lamp steads. It is believed that the kolams are titans sent by Lord Shiva to terminate the evils of the society and bring prosperity. Percussion music is provided by drums, such as, Chenda, Maddalam, Timila and idiophones like gong and cymbals. The percussion music is punctuated by the sound of horns called Kompu. The music is loud and pulsating and the dance is performed with increasing tempo till it becomes frenzied.