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Traditional Dance in Bhaktapur

a) Mask dances:

Mahakali Dance 
This is one of the most popular masked dances of the Newars. It is based on the religious story from a Hindu Puran Called 'Mahakali Mahalaxmi'. According to this, the three goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi, and Kumari (three of the eight deities that protect the eight corners of Kathmandu Valley, have different ghost followers. These mother goddesses were practiced by Eighty four sidhas to gain mystic power came down from heaven to vanquish the demons that were spreading great misery and hardship among the human beings. The almighty Goddesses waged a great war with the demons and defeated them, thus stabilizing peace and order on earth. This dance expresses the great joy and happiness of the people after the great victory over the demons.

Lakhey dance

This is one of the classical dances of Nepal and once a year during the festival of Indra Jatra it is celebrated for nearly a week during the end of September or first part of October. According to the people's belief, Lakhey are man eating demons living in the dense forest. They consume animals and people passing through the jungle. Whenever they have a good meal they dance with jog. Previously Lakhey dancers used to select victims to be offered as human sacrifices.

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Monkey dance

It is performed by the teenagers wearing traditional customs and sticks in their hands. The Nepalese still pay great respect to the sacred myths and legends. According to the religious epic the Ramayan, the dance was performed by the monkeys to express their joy and happiness after Lord Ram returned with his wife Sita, on gaining victory over the demon king Ravana of Sri Lanka. 

Khyak Dance

Khyaks are supernatural beings. They are believed to be followers of Goods and goddess. They were visible to the people before the advent of electricity. They are quite harmless. They simple used to frighten people at night. What the dancers perform is just the expression of Khyak's naughty nature. They perform dances to entertain Gods and Goddess.

Kawan (Skeleton) Dance

According to people's belief, kawans are the evil spirits to be seen mostly at street-crossing and cremation-grounds. They accompany the Gods and Goddess during their adventures. Sometimes they trouble people, causing stomach pain. But one can get rid of it easily by making some offerings and by following the advice of a witch doctor.

Devi Daitya Sangram (The battle of Goddess and Demon)

This is a dramatic dance form, here the handsome brave demon sees a beautiful girl and immediately falls in love with her. Then he proposes to marry her, but she answers that she will only accept one who can defeat her in a battle. The egoist demon gets very angry and tries to catch her. But it is not possible. They start battling. The demon sees her everywhere in the form of the furious Goddess Kali and collapses to the ground with fear. Then the goddess, who is in fact the universal power, stands on him. 

b) Folk Dances

Jyapu- Jyapuni (Dhimey) Dance

This pair dance of the farmers is generally performed during the harvest season in the Jyapu community, and is accompanied with lively music and songs.v Indra Apsara (Nymph) Dance 
In Veda, Indra is the divine supreme Hero of the Universe,  and the king of Gods, who dances with Nymphs in the Heaven. This event serves as a memory to the local people of Thimi who believe that their dead family members are watching this performance in Heaven. The dresses of the dancers are, however, influenced by the customs of Rana Ministers' period. This Dance is in form of  medieval style.

Lusi (Pestle) Dance

This is a satirical street performance on the social and political life, both at local and international levels. However, the style of choreography and music are always the same, only the story will differ according to time and space.

c) Charya Dances 
Manjushree Dance
 Manjushree, believed to have come from Mahachin, holds a special place in Nepalese culture as a Bodhisatwa who made Kathmandu Valley inhabitable by draining the water out of it. It is believed that Long ago, the Kathmandu valley was a lake and Manjushree who with his two consorts: Barada and Mokshada came to Kathmandu to pay homage to Lord Swoyambhu, created the Chobar gorge to drain the valley of its waters.

Bajrayogini Dance

Bajrayogini, the goddess of yogic practices dances joyfully in bright red color. She is the consort of Heruka and personifies the feminine energy. The temple of Goddess Bajrayogini is situated 3 miles from Kathmandu.

Pancha Buddha Dance

The Pancha Buddha or Five Buddhas are Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha Buddhas and Amoghasiddhi. Each of these transcendental Buddhas has his particular color, posture, direction and wisdom.v Rakta Ganesh Dance 
The image of Rakta Ganesh (Red Ganesh) is generally found along with Mahakala at the entrance to monasteries in the valley as a protective deity. He is elephant headed and has three eyes.

Arya Tara Dance 

She is of green color and regarded as a consort of Amoghasiddhi. She protects the suffering beings and assists them in crossing the ocean of Samsara: the life of suffering

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