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Dalkhai is the most popular folk dance of Odisha.[1] It is known as Dalkhai because in the beginning and end of every stanza the word is used as an address to a girl friend. Mainly the theme of this dance is Radha and Krishna, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.

It is performed in various festivals such as Bhaijiuntia, Phagun Puni, Nuakhai, etc. Usually young women from Binjhal, Kuda, Mirdha, Sama and some other tribes of Sambalpur, Balangir, Sundargarh, Bargarh and Nuapada districts, participate in this dance. Dalkhai dance originates from the Sambalpur district of the East Indian state of Odisha. It is the most popular dance form of the Western part of Odisha. The men shout the word ‘Dalkhai Bo!’ at the beginning and end of each stanza sung in the dance.

This is the reason why the dance is known as the Dalkhai dance. The men dancing along with the girls address them during the performance and flirt with them. The themes on which the dance is performed are the eternal love story of Radha and Lord Krishna, episodes from the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and description of nature.

The dance is accompanied by a rich orchestra of folk music played by a number of instruments known as 'Dhol', 'Nisan' (a typically giant sized drum made of iron case), 'Tamki' (a tiny one sided drum 6" in diameter played by two sticks), 'Tasa' (a one sided drum) and 'Mahuri'. However, the 'Dhol' player controls the tempo while dancing in front of the girls

.The main theme of this dance form is Radha and Krishna, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Women and girls wear a colorful printed Sambalpuri saree. They also tie a scarf on their shoulders holding the ends in both the hands. Various traditional pieces of jewellery such as the necklace, bangles, etc. complete the look of the performers.

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