List of Indian folk dances
Indian folk and tribal dances are simple dances, and are performed to express joy. Folk and tribal dances are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The dances are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movement. The dances burst with verve and vitality. Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together. On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, while being accompanied by artists on the instruments. Each form of dance has a specific costume. Most costumes are flamboyant with extensive jewels. While there are numerous ancient folk and tribal dances, many are constantly being improved. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance.
Nicobarese dances: This is the dance of the Nicobarese – the fascinating tribal group residing in the island of Car Nicobar. The dance is performed during the Ossuary Feast or the Pig Festival. Dedicated to the departed head of the family, the occasion is observed with night long dancing in the full moonlight under the swaying palms. The dancers dressed in coconut fronds step gracefully in time to traditional songs. Feasting and good food followed by a pig fight in the morning are other highlights of the celebration.
Thapetta Gullu: This is the dance form of the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, in which more than ten persons participate, singing songs in the praise of the local goddess. The dancers use drums, which are hung around their necks to produce varied rhythms. Tinkling bells around the waist form a distinctive part of the dancers’ costumes.
Bardo Chham: A folk dance of Sherdukpens, a small community of West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh, Bardo Chham depicts the victory of good over evil. The dance has an interesting background. According to the local beliefs, forces – both good and evil, rule mankind. The folks believe that in one year, twelve different types of stupid things , representing evil forces, appear each month and get together. The sherdukpens mask themselves representing the different animals and dance to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals as an act of fighting the evil forces.
Karma/Munda: The traditional dance gets its name from the Karma tree[ambiguous], which stands for fortune and good luck. The ceremony starts with the planting of the trees. Dancers, both men and women, form circles around it and dance with their arms around each other’s waists. As the drum beats get quicker and louder, the dancers gain momentum and generally end in an uproarious tumult.
Panthi: The folk dance of the Satnami community of Chhattisgarh bears religious overtones. Performed on Maghi Purnima – the birth anniversary of their Guru(Saint) Guru Ghasidas, the dance is evolving still to include a variety of steps and patterns. The dancers dance around a jaitkhamb set up for the occasion, to the songs eulogizing their spiritual head. The songs also reflect the Nirvana philosophy, conveying the spirit of renunciation of their Guru and the teachings of saint poets like Kabir, Ramdas, Dadu, etc. Dancers with bent torsos and swinging arms continue to dance till carried away by their devotion. As the rhythm quickens, they indulge in acrobatics and even form human pyramids. Raut Nacha: A traditional folk dance usually done by yadavs/yaduvanshis (a caste which considers itself as descendants of Krishna) as symbol of worship to Krishna. Done at the time of ‘dev udhni ekadashi’ (time of awakening of Gods after brief rest) according to Hindu pancang (calendar). The dance is a close resemblance of krishna’s raas leela (dance of lord with his village’s girls called gopis) with gopis.
The multi-hued dance is all energy and youthfulness. On the occasions of Dussehra and Holi, the spirited young girls and boys swarm the streets in colorful group, waving flags and streamers (tarang), inspiring and inviting one and all to imbibe the festive spirit. They shout Ho! Ho! To the beats of ‘romut’, ‘dhol’ and ‘tasha’. The rainbow like costumes of the dancers and the multi-coloured flags and streamers make Tarangamel a visually appealing affair.
- Kunbi Dance
- Koli Dance
- Samayi nrutya
- Tonnya mell
Garba : Garba is customarily performed by women, the dance involves circular patterns of movement and rhythmic clapping. It popularly performed during Navratri. The word comes from “garbha deep” which is translated as either light in the inner sanctum of the temple or lamp inside a perforated earthen pot (which is often used in the dance).
Padhar: It is performed by a rural community living around NalLake. In it, performers simulate the rhythmic movements of roving mariners and the undulating sea waves. The Bhil tribes, who live close to border tracts, and the Adivasis of Dangs district, have particularly lively folk dances.
Raas: Raas is an energetic, vibrant dance originating in the state of Gujarat. Often called the “stick dance” because it uses polished sticks or dandiya, it represents a mock-fight between Durga and Mahishasura, the mighty demon-king. It is nicknamed “The Sword Dance” because the dandiya represent the sword of Durga and are hit together. The combination of garba and raas has become very popular at the collegiate level in the United States. Garba-Raas competitions are increasing in number. Popular ones include Dandia Dhamaka, Raas Chaos, Garba With Attitude, Dandia on Fire and Maryland Masti among others.
Tippani Dance: Originated from the chorwad region of Saurashtra, laborer women take a wooden rod to beat the floor,which had iron/wood piece at one end, to make it stronger in opposite rows,which made the dance an interesting work.
Kinnauri Nati: The beauty of hilly Himachal finds an expression in the languid and elegant movements that form a part of the marvelous Nati dance. The dance matches the gentleness of the hilly breeze and the rhythmic swaying of trees. The dance is mainly a mime but also incorporates some abstract but languid sequences. Important among the dances of Nati is ‘Losar shona chuksom’, which takes its name from Losai, or the New Year. The dance depicts all the activities involved in sowing the crop and reaping it.
Namgen: The Namagen dance is performed in September to celebrate the autumnal hues. The costumes a\re largely woolen and richly studded ornaments of silver are worn by women. The most picturesque amongst these are dances of Gaddis. All regions of Himachal Pradesh have their own dances. Mostly men and women dance together, close to each other in the formation.
Main article: Music of Harayana
Haryana has rich tradition of dances for various occasions (wedding, festivals, etc.) and seasons (harvest, sowing of seeds, monsoon, etc.). These dances come under one or the other category. Broadly, the following dances are common in one area or the other and performed on specific occasions. Refer to for
Main article: Music of Harayana
Yakshagana artist with Kirita depicts King’
Yakshagana (Kannada:ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ, pronounced as yaksha-gaana) is a classical dance drama popular in the state of Karnataka in India mostly popular in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasaragod district of Kerala. This theater art involves Music, Songs, Dance, Acting, Dialogue, story and unique costumes. While, songs and dance adhere to well established talas very similar to classical Indian dance forms, acting and dialogues are created spntanously on stage depending on ability of artists. This combination of classical and folk elements makes Yakshagana unique from any other Indian art. This would be considered to be a form of opera in western eyes.
Traditionally, Yakshaganas use to start late in the night and run entire night. Bhagavata, the background singer is also the directory of the story and controls the entire proceedings on stage. Bagavatha along with background musicians who play Chande and Maddale forms himmela. The actors who ware colorful costumes and enact various roles in the story forms Mummela.
Yakshagana is sometimes simply called as Aataā in both Kannada and Tulu (meaning play). Yaksha-gana literally means the song (gana) of a Yaksha. Yakshas were an exotic tribe mentioned in the Sanskrit literature of ancient India.
There are many professional troops in Karnataka. Inspite of competition from modern movie industry and TV, these troops are arranging ticketed shows and making profit. Apart from this individuals arrange shows in their village inviting well know professional artists like Sri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde and Kondadakuli Ramachandra Hegde, providing an opportunity for local talents to act with legends.
Dollu Kunitha: The Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka. The vigorous drum dance performed by the men of the shepherd community known as ‘ Kurba’. Powerful drumming, acrobatic movements and attractive formations are the notable highlights of the dance. The men have large drums, decorated with colored cloth, slung from their necks, and they beat the drums as they dance with nimble movements of the feet and legs. The dance is at times accompanied by songs, which are either religious or in praise of war.
Dumhal: Dumhal is a dance performed by the men folk of the Wattal tribe of Kashmir on specific occasions. The performers wear long colorful robes, tall conical caps that are studded with beads and shells. The party moves in a procession carrying a banner in a very ceremonial fashion. It is dug into the ground and the men begin to dance, forming a circle. The musical accompaniment comprises a drum and the vocal singing of the participants. Dumhal is performed on set occasions and at set locations.
Lava: It is the colorful dance of the Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep in which dancers wear multi-hued costumes, a headgear and carries a special drum. The dance movements are prolific and profuse and are in rhythm with the drum beats and vocal accompaniment.
Tertali: The Kamar tribe performs the Tera Tali, which is an elaborate ritual with many elements of dance. It is generally performed by two or three women who sit on the ground. Manjiras, or small metal cymbals are tied to different parts of the body, mostly the legs, and with a cymbal in either hand the dancer strikes these in rhythm. The head is covered with a veil, and at times a small sword is clenched between the teeth and an ornamental pot balanced on the head.
Charkula: This dance is performed in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh– the land of Krishna and his consort – Radha. Veiled women balancing large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramids on their heads, alight with 108 oil lamps, dance to the strains of ‘rasiya’ – songs of Krishna. Charkula is especially performed on the third day after Holi – the day, which Radha was born. According to legend, Radha’s grandmother ran out of the house with the charkula on her head to announce the birth of Radha, since then, Charkula has formed a popular dance form of Brajbhoomi, performed during various festivities.
Jawara: The Jawara is performed in the Bundelkhand area of Madhya Pradesh. It is essentially a harvest dance-reflecting the gaiety and pleasure of the peasants who have reaped a good harvest. The dance is performed by men and women together. The costumes and jewellery worn by the women are colorful. The women carry baskets full of jawara on their heads and although the dance is very vigorous they are able to balance these baskets very skillfully on their heads. The accompaniment includes a rich variety of percussion, stringed and wind instruments.
Pavri Nach: In the hilly regions of the northwest, the Kokna tribal dance to the accompaniment of the tarpha or pavri, a wind instrument made of dried gourd. Because of this, the dance is known as Tarpha Nach or Pavri Nach. The performers hold each other by the waist and dance in close formation. Men also dance separately, and this includes feats of skill, like forming a pyramid or rapidly revolving a dancer round a stout pole.
Thang Ta: Thang Ta is the martial art form exclusive to Manipur, with ‘Thang’ meaning sword and ‘Ta’ meaning spear. In this amazing display of the traditional art of warfare, performers leap and attack each other and defend themselves. Encouraged by the kings of the earlier times, Thang Ta is an ingenuous display of skill and creativity. The art has a ritualistic aspect with some movements of sword intended to ward off evil spirits, while other postures indicating protection. All the dance forms of Meiti people are believed to have originated from Thang Ta.
Dol cholam: The drum, by itself, enjoys a privilege in the dances of Manipur. There are several kinds of drums, each intended for a particular occasion. The festival of Holi, in spring, is the real time for drum dances, such as Dhol Cholom.
Cheraw Dance: Cheraw dance is a combination of rhythm and skill. Four people hold two pairs of long bamboos across one another on the ground. As the bamboo sticks are clapped together, the main dancers in traditional attires weave patterns through them in time to the rhythm. Cheraw is a major attraction during all festive occasions in Mizoram. Cheraw is believed to have a foreign origin. Similar dances are popular in the Far East and the Philippines. The Mizos may have brought the dance with them when they migrated to their land in India.
Chang Lo (or) Sua Lua: This dance of the Chang tribe of Nagaland was performed to celebrate the victory over enemies in the earlier times. Presently, it forms a part of all the community celebrations, such as Poanglem, a three day festival preceding the harvest season. There are dramatic costumes of the traditional Naga warrior and finery of womenfolk.
Ruk Mar Nacha (& Chhau dance): This is a rudimentary form of the more evolved Chhau dance of West Bengal. Performed in the Mayurbhanj District of Orissa, it has its base in the martial arts tradition. The dance is a stylized mock battle in which two groups of dancers armed with swords and shields, alternatively attack and defend themselves with vigorous movements and elegant stances. Especially notable is the accompanying music, noted for its rhythmic complexities and vigorous percussion. The instruments include ‘Mahuri’ – a double reeded instrument, ‘Dhola’ – a barrel shaped two-sided drum, ‘Dhumsa’ – a hemispherical drum and ‘Chadchadi’ – a short cylindrical drum.
Goti Pua: The goti puas are boy dancers who dress up as girls. They are students of the akhadas, or gymnasia, established by Ramachandradeva in Puri, in the periphery of the temple. As they were offshoots of the akhada system, goti puas also came to be known as akhada pilas – boys attached to akhadas. Another reason often given to justify the emergence of the goti pua system is that some followers of the Vaishnava religion disapproved of dancing by women as a pretext for worship – they introduced the practice of dancing by boys dressed as girls. The word goti means ‘one’, ‘single’ and pua, ‘boy’, but the goti puas always dance in pairs. Boys are recruited about the age of six and continue to perform till they are 14, then become teachers of the dance or join drama parties. Goti puas are now part of professional teams, known as dals, each headed by a guru. The boys are trained for about two years, during which, after having imbibed the basic technique, they learn items of dance, ornamental and expressional. The goti puas, being youngsters in their formative years, can adapt their bodies to the dance in a far more flexible manner as opposed to the maharis. A goti pua presentation is ably supported by a set of three musicians, who play the pakhawaj, the gini or cymbals and the harmonium. The boys do the singing themselves, though at times the group has an additional singer.
Nacnī: female performers who sing and dance professionally in rural areas, accompanied by male ḍhulkī and nagarā drummers
Garadi: The famous dance of Pondicherry is believed to have a purely mythological origin. As the legend goes, when Rama – the epic hero of Ramayana defeated Ravana then the vanars (monkeys) performed this dance to celebrate his victory. Garadi is performed during all festivals and usually continues for five to eight hours. The dancers are disguised as ‘vanars’ and carry sticks in their hands as they dance to the beat of two big drums, called ‘ Ramadolus’. A distinctive feature of this dance is the iron rings called ‘anjali’ which dancers wear on their legs – ten on each leg. As the dancer proceeds, these rings produce a melodious sound.
Bhangra: The dance known as Bhangra is one of Punjab’s most popular dances and the name of the music style. Bhangra is done with classic style Punjabi dresses, and with instruments including a Dhol, Chimta, Tabla, etc. It was originally danced during the harvest season, but now is a popular form of celebration at any time such as weddings and festivals. Bhangra is a very popular style of music and dance in Punjab, but is also very popular in the diaspora, specifically in Canada and the U.K. where many Bhangra competitions are now held. Creating Bhangra teams has become very popular and influential with teenagers.
Giddha: The counterpart to male bhangra, giddha is a female folk dance from Punjab. It is an energetic dance derived from ancient ring dancing that highlights feminine grace and elasticity. It is often accompanied by singing folk couplets known as boliyan. Malwai Giddha:
By A.P.Singh Pali Punjabi Folk Dancer and Punjabi Folk dance Coach 99143-10063
Kalbelia: The dance is performed by the women of Kalbelia community. The main occupation of the community is catching snakes and trading snake venom. Hence the dance movements and the costumes bear resemblance to that of the serpents. Dancers attired in traditional black swirling skirts, sway sinuously to the plaintive notes of the ‘been’ – the wooden instrument of the snake charmers.
Singhi Chham: It is a masked dance of Sikkim, depicting snow lion – the cultural symbol of the state. (Snow lion was decreed the guardian deity of the people of Sikkim by Guru Padamsambhava). The third highest mountain in the world – Kanchenjunga(Khang-Chen Dzong Pa), standing sentinel over the state of Sikkim, is believed to resemble the legendary snow lion. The natives display their cultural symbol by dressing up in furry costumes and performing this majestic masked dance.
Kamandi or Kaman Pandigai: This is celebrated to commemorate the puranic event when Manmada the God of Love was burnt to ashes by Siva in anger. The villagers separate themselves into two parties as Erintha katchi and Eriyatha katchi and a heated debate ensues. Kaman and Rathi, his consort, are main characters.\ Devarattam Devarattam or ‘ the dance of the gods’ is the dance of the Kambala Naikar community of Tamil Nadu, who believe that they are the direct descendants of the ‘devas’ or gods. Fast and fluent movements to the rhythmic sound of ‘ Deva Thunthubi’ – a drum-shaped percussion instrument, make this dance truly enjoyable. The dance is performed during festivals, marriages and other social occasions.
Kummi: The womenfolk of Maharastra have three closely related dances, which can be performed at any time but are seen at their best during festivities. The simplest of these is the Kummi, in which the dancers gather in a circle and clap their hands as they dance. As an extension to this is the Kolattam, where instead of clapping, the participants hold small wooden rods in their hands and strike these in rhythm as they dance.
Kolattam: Kolattam is an ancient village art. This is mentioned in Kanchipuram as ‘Cheivaikiyar Kolattam’, which proves its antiquity. This is performed by women only, with two sticks held in each hand, beaten to make a rhythmic sound. Pinnal Kolattam is danced with ropes which the women hold in their hands, the other of which are tied to a tall pole. With planned steps, the women skip over each other, which forms intricate lace-like patterns in the ropes. As coloured ropes are used, this lace looks extremely attractive. Again, they unravel this lace reversing the dance steps. This is performed for ten days, starting with the Amavasi or Newmoon night after Deepavali.
Mayil Attam or Peacock dance: This is done by girls dressed as peacocks, resplendent with peacock feathers and a glittering head-dress complete with a beak. This beak can be opened and closed with the help of a thread tied to it, and manipulated from within dress. Other similar dances are, Kaalai Attam (dressed as a bull), Karadi Attam (dressed as a bear) and Aali Aattam (dressed as a demon) which are performed in the villages during village get-togethers. Vedala Aattam is performed wearing a mask depicting demons.
Poikal Kudirai Attam: Poikal attam refers to the dance of “false legs”. Here dancers are attached to a dummy horse at the waist. Instead of 4 legs of a horse only 2 legs of the person with the prop on his body is present. The image is similar to a rider on a horse (albeit a two legged horse and thus the name Poikal attam). This is a popular folklore dance with themes often on “Raja Desingu” – a once popular Rajput ruler called Tej Singh who invaded areas all the way up until Tamil Nadu.
Theru Koothu: Normally conducted during village festivals, during the months of Panguni and Aadi. This is performed where three or four streets meet. Here, make-up and costumes are considered of prime importance. Only men take part; the female roles also played by them. The performance consists of story-telling, dialogue-rendering, songs and dance, all performed by the artistes. The stories are taken from Puranas, epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and also local folklore. The play starts in the late evening and gets over only during the small hours of the nights. Theru Koothu is popular in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu. The Koothu can be categorised as Nattu Koothu, including Vali Koothu, Kuravai Koothu etc. Samaya Koothu dealing with religious topics, Pei Koothu including Thunangai Koothu and Porkala Koothu dealing with martial events.
Hojagiri: Hojagiri is a reflection of the age-old culture and the unique style of dance of the Reang community of Tripura. Only lower half of the body is moved to create rhythmic movements. Dancers performing unusually amazing acrobatic feats is the main highlight of the dance. Reang girls twist and turn and dance in time to the compelling rhythm, sometimes dancing on an earthen pitcher or balancing a bottle on the head with a lighted lamp on top of it.
Gambhira: The folk dance/theater of Gambhira originated among the Hindu community of Maldah in West Bengal. After Partition of India, Chapai Nawabganj in Rajshahi became the main center of Gambhira. With time, Gambhira has undergone many changes in terms of theme and style of its presentation. Muslims also became the custodian of the dance, and thereby it became an integral part of their culture. May be for that reason the dancer now wears the Lungi. Gambhira comprises a few characters with dialogues in an atmosphere of music, its themes now being contemporary social problems, fakeness and selfishness of people and so on.
Kalikapatadi: The main story of this Bengali dance form is ‘how Shiva calms down angry Kali after killing Asura. It is more prevalent in Howrah. Before the coronation of Shiva on Neelpuja Day (Chaitra Sankranti), the performance of this dance is a must. The green leaves of water hyacinth is used to make the hair of Kali and the black ash of Ganja to decorate the body. Clay mask is used for Mahadeva. Palm leaves reddened with Alta is used as the tongue of Kali. Participants go on fast for the whole day. The dance is being performed for nearly five-hundred years.
Alkap: Alkap is arural performance, popular in many places of Bengal, especially in Rajshahi, Maldah and Murshidabad districts, and the Rajmahal Hills in the state of Jharkhand. This is associated with the Gajan Festoval of Shiva around th emiddle of April. The beginning of this form was in the late nineteenth century. It has no written script, but scenarios based on popular love stories, which the actors elaborate with extreme dialogues, breaking up for songs, dances and comic or satirical sketches called Kap. It is a composite performance comprising acting, dancing, singing and recitation. Each Alkap group consists of ten to twelve dancers, under the leadership of a ‘Sorkar’ or ‘Guru‘. The group includes two or three ‘Chhokras’, one or two lead singers called ‘Gayen’ or ‘Gayok’. Also, there remain ‘Dohars’, the chorus called ‘Gayokdol’ and instrumentalists called ‘Bajnadars’. Alkap performances take place at night on an open stage.
Domni: Domni belongs to Maldah in West Bengal. A Domni performance starts with a Vandana dedicated to God. Then the ‘Mool Gayen’ (Lead Character/Protagonist) and ‘Chhokras’ (Supporting Characters) offer devotional prayers. The dance performances of the Chhokras are called ‘Nachari’ or ‘Lachari’. The main characters are the roles of husbands, wives, mothers, greedy moneylenders, peasant- girls and so on. The plays are composed taking extracts from small events of everyday life and are presented in a satirical manner. The musical instruments are Harmonium, Dholak, Kartal, Flute and so on. Domni groups are found in Maldah. With change on social life and popular taste/culture, this folk form is becoming extinct.
Baagh Naach or Tiger Dance This Kosli Sambalpuri folk dance is performed in Binka and Sonepur of Subarnapur district during the month of chaitra. The dancer (only males) paints his bare body with yellow and black stripes like that of a tiger and attaches a suitable tail. One or more dancers move from house to house and after a crowd gathers the dance begins. The dancers are accompanied by a drummer and a bell player who provides the music. The dance is nothing but acrobatic movement in rhythm. They make hissing sounds while dancing. Tiger dance is also performed in Berhampur during the Thakurani Jatra.
Traditional Sambalpuri folk dancers performing on Dalkhai
Though Dusserah is the occasion of Kosli Sambalpuri folk dance Dalkhai, it’s the most popular folk-dance of Koshal , its performance is very common on all other festivals such as Bhaijiuntia, Phagun Puni, Nuakhai, etc. This is mostly danced by young women of Binjhal, Kuda, Mirdha, Sama and some other tribes of Sambalpur, Balangir, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts under the Koshal region in which men joins them as drummers and musicians. The dance is accompanied by a rich orchestra of folk music played by a number of instruments known as Dhol, Nisan , Tamki , Tasa and Mahuri. However, the Dhol player controls the tempo while dancing in front of the girls. 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. The love story of Radha and Krishna, the episodes from Ramayana and Mahabharata, the description of natural scenery are represented through the songs.The song associated with this dance is sang in the Kosli Sambalpuri Language. The young women dance and sing intermittently. The songs are of special variety with the additive ‘Dalkhai Go’ which is an address to a girlfriend. While dancing to the uncanny rhythms of the Dhol, they place the legs close together and bend the knees. In another movement they move forward and backward in a half-sitting position. Sometimes they make concentric circles clockwise and anti-clockwise. The women generally dress themselves in colourful Sambalpuri Saris and wear a scarf on the shoulders holding the ends below in both the hands. Bedecked with traditional jewellery, their robust frames sustain the strains of the dance for long hours. The Dalkhai dance has several adjunctive forms for all ages and groups :
Dances performed by girl Child : Chhiollai, Humobauli and Dauligit.
Dances Performed by teenagers : Sajani, Chhata , Daika and Bhekani.
Dances Performed by Youths : Rasarkeli, Jaiphul, Maila Jada, Bayamana, Gunchikuta .
The man who worship work, composes “Karma” and “Jhumer” invigorating Lord Vishwakarma and the Karamashani goddess.
Dhap : This Kosli Sambalpuri folk dance is mostly performed by the Kandha tribe of Kosal region .Both men and women participate in the dance. Men of one village dance with women of another village. Usually unmarried boys and girls take part. The dance is performed during marriage ceremony and more often for the sake of recreation. The dance is named so because of the accompanying instrument called ‘Dhap.’ The dhap is in the shape of a Khanjari made up of wood with one side open and the other side covered with a piece of animal skin. The dhap dancer holds the dhap with his left hand, the sling slung over his left shoulder, and beats with his right as well as left hand.
Ghumra : Kosli Sambalpuri Folk dance Ghumra is also known as vira-badya of koshal region. It was used during war times in the past to encourage soldiers. It is also used to give social message like forestation, saving girl child,literacy etc. It is a typical drum. It is just like a big pitcher with a long stem made of clay. The mouth is covered with the skin of a Godhi (a reptile). When played with both hands, it produces a peculiar sound quite different from other varieties of drums. The dance performed to the accompaniment of this drum is called Ghumra Naat. It begins fifteen days before the Gamha Puni (full moon in September) and culminates on that night in a ceremonial performance. Young men of various communities fix a Ghoomra each on the chest with string tied the body simultaneouly dance and play. The performance begins with slow circular movements. The Nisan is a smaller variety of Kettle-drum played with two leather-sticks. The player always places himself in the centre and controls the tempo of the dance. He also indicates change over the movements. After a brief dance sequence in different rhythmic patterns all the dancers move in a concentric circle and then stand erect in a line. Then enters the singer who first sings in praise of Saraswati and other gods and goddesses. During the song the drums remain silent. After the prayer-song Chhanda, Chaupadi and other literary folk-songs are sung. Each couplet of a song is followed by a dance. At the end of the each couplet the singer adds ‘Takita Dhe’ which is a numonic syllable for the time-beats and indicates the dance to begin. Ghumra dancers are basically from Kalahandi and Balangir dist.
Karma Naach : Karam or Karma literally means ‘fate’ in Kosli Sambalpuri language. This pastoral Kosli Sambalpuri folk dance is performed during the worship of the god or goddess of fate (Karam Devta or Karamsani Devi), whom the people consider the cause of good and bad fortune. It begins from Bhadra Shukla Ekadasi (eleventh day of the brightmoon of the month of Bhadra) and lasts for several days. This is popular among the scheduled class tribes (e.g., the Binjhal, Kharia, Kisan and Kol tribes) in the districts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Sundargarh, Sambalpur and Mayurbhanj. This dance is in honour of Karamsani, the deity who bestows children and good crops. After the puja is done it is followed by singing and dancing in accompaniment of drum (maandal), cymbal etc. The dance performance full of vigour and energy combined with charm of the youth decked with colourful costumes in exuberance of red cloth, set in peacock feathers, skillfully designed ornaments made of small conch shells, brings the onlookers as well as the performers to a mood of trance and ecstasy. In this dance both men and women take part and continue to engross themselves for the whole night. The skillful movement of the young boys with mirror in hand indicates the traditional pattern of love-making in course of dancing and singing. The dance is performed sometimes by boys in group, sometimes by girls in group and sometimes both the sexes together. The subject matter of songs constitutes the description of nature, invocation to Karmasani, desires, aspiration of people, love and humour.
Keisabadi : Only men can take part in this form of the Kosli Sambalpuri folk dance .Some of them holding a stick two feet in length. They dance in different forms by striking the sticks according to the rhythms of the song they sing. The leader sings first and others follow him. They sing in Kosli Sambalpuri language and in every stanza they shout ” Haido”. The main theme of the song is derived from the love story of Radha and Krishna.
Ghoomar (Rajasthan, Haryana)
Women dressed in multi-hued skirts swirl gracefully in a circle during this lively dance. Ghoomar is performed by young women and girls during various festivities like Holi, Gangaur Puja, Teej, etc. In Rajasthan, Ghoomar is performed to the songs of valor and victory. In Haryana, the songs sung for Ghoomar are high-pitched and rich in humor and satire
Koli (Maharashtra & Goa)
The dance derives its name from the fisher folk of Western Maharashtra & Goa – Kolis, who are noted for their distinct identity and lively dances. Their dances incorporate elements they are most familiar with – the sea and their occupation of fishing. The dance is performed by both men and women – divided into two groups. The smaller group of men and women, in pairs, enact the main story of the dance – where the Kolin or fisherwoman makes advances to the Koli or fisherman. The larger group, also in pairs, forms the backdrop for the story, dancing in a looped movement that depicts the rowing of a fishing boat on undulating waves. Especially most of the dances and celebrations are devoted to “Sea God” for a better catch and protection.
Padayani or Padeni in colloquial speech is one of the most colorful and spectacular folk arts associated with the festivals of certain temples in southern Kerala (Aleppy, Quilon, Pathanamthitta, and Kottayam districts). The word Padayani literally means military formations or rows of army, but in this folk art we have mainly a series of divine and semi-divine impersonations wearing huge masks or kolams of different shapes, colors and designs painted on the stalks of areca nut fronds. The most important of the kolams usually presented in a Padayani performance are Bhairavi (Kali), Kalan (god of death), Yakshi (fairy), Pakshi (bird) etc. The Kolam consists primarily of a huge headgear with many projections and devices with a mask for the face or a chest piece to cover the breast and abdomen of the performer. The whole performance consisting of the dancers or actors who wear the kolams, the singers who recite a different poem for each Kolam, and the instrumentalists who evoke wild and loud rhythm on their simple drum called Thappu and Cymbals, etc., takes the form of a procession of Kali and her spirits returning after the killing of the Asura chief Darika.
Kathak (Hindi: कथक, Urdu: کتھک) is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from northern India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or story tellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. The structure of a conventional Kathak performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax. A short danced composition is known as a tukra, a longer one as a toda. There are also compositions consisting solely of footwork. Often the performer will engage in rhythmic ‘play’ with the time-cycle, splitting it into triplets or quintuplets for example, which will be marked out on the footwork, so that it is in counterpoint to the rhythm on the percussion. All compositions are performed so that the final step and beat of the composition lands on the ‘sam’ or first beat of the time-cycle. Most compositions also have ‘bols’ (rhythmic words) which serve both as mnemonics to the composition and whose recitation also forms an integral part of the performance. Some compositions are aurally very interesting when presented this way. The bols can be borrowed from tabla (e.g. dha, ge, na, tirakiTa) or can be a dance variety (ta, thei, tat, ta ta, tigda, digdig and so on).