Where is this dance from and what are their forms?
Chhau dance is indigenous to eastern India. Chhau dance also spread to West Bengal and present-day Jharkhand during 18th century. Since then it has evolved into a variety of forms, viz. Seraikella chhau (evolved in the Seraikella district of Jharkhand), Mayurbhanj chau and Purulia chhau (evolved in the Purulia district of West Bengal).While the Purulia style tends to incline towards traditional postures, Mayurbhanj chhau movements and postures adapt to modern styles.
Tracing it historical origin?
Its origin lies in martial arts and contains vigorous movements that include unusual leaps. The origin of chhau is attributed to Mayurbhanj, a princely state in the 18th century.
On which epics are they based ?
The form derives content from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and some episodes of the Puranas. Performances begin with the fight between good and evil and concludes with the end of evil.
What scholars have to say?
While some scholars say that the word chhau is derived from ‘chhaya’ (shadow), Oriya literary figure Shrikant Mahapatra said that chhau is derived from ‘chhauni’ (army camp) because of the use of chhau dance as an entertainment for army men.