Sammi Dance

Sammi is a traditional dance form originating from the tribal communities of Punjab. The dancers are dressed in bright coloured kurtas and full flowing skirts called lehengas. A peculiar silver hair ornament is associated with this dance. The dance is popular in the Sandalbar region of Pakistan. The dance is performed by women of Baazigar, Rai, Lobana and Sansi tribes. Legend has it that this dance was originally performed by Princess Sammi of Marwad to show excessive emotion at her separation from Rajkumar Suchkumar of Rajasthan. The refrain of the most popular Sammi song is “Sammi meri van” that alludes to the name of the original Sammi in her native Rajasthan, “Marvan”.

This women`s dance is also performed like that of Giddha dance. The dancers stand in a circular mode and swing their hands, bringing them up from the sides, right in front up to the chest level and clap: they take their hands down in accordance with the rhythm and clap again. Repeating this gesture, they bend forward and clap again and go round and round in a circle. As the rhythm is maintained with the beat of the feet, various swinging movements are performed with the arms. Most of the gestures are confined to the movement of the arms, by clicking and clapping. No instrument is used for an accompaniment to this dance, since the rhythm is achieved through beating of the feet and clapping.

The performers do special kind of make-up. All women participants knit their hair in a distinct way. They knit their hair into thin plaits all over their head into intricate patterns and tie the remaining length of the hair in one full plait. In the middle of their head they fix a special ornament shaped like an inverted lotus called phul-chowk or Suggiphul (flower of the crossings of the plaits). The performers wear a kurta and the tehmet (lower cloth) and cover their head with a thick cloth of loose rectangular dimension, called `Bhochhan`. Chutki is used to keep the beat in this dance. Chutki is a frictional sound of single note created by pressing and then sliding the thumb and the index or the middle finger. The background song of this dance is also called sammi. This is also a dance of controlled movements and it is said that even the Devtas (angels) get intoxicated while seeing this dance.