Hindu – Ancient Scriptures ~ Dance

February 8, 2011 Comments Off

Indian Folk Dance – Garba

Gujarat, during the 9th century, was divided into four regions-Saurashtra, Kachchh, Aanarta and Laat (south Gujarat). Raas, Garba, Hudo, Tippani are the dance forms of Saurashtra, while Dangi of Dharampur and Holi Nritya from Kawant are attributed to Laat. Garba, Garbi and Bhavai are the dances from Aanarta (north Gujarat), while Siddi Dhamal, Matukadi, Ged-do are original dances of Kachchh. Garba dance is originally a popular folk dance of Gujarat. This dance form has connection with Shakti-Puja and its origin is believed to be in the worship of goddess Jagdamba. It is played in a circular form performed by ladies on the nine nights of Navaratri festival, Sharad Purnima, Vasant Panchami, Holi and such other festive occasions and it continues till midnight. The word Garba is derived from the word `Garbha Deep` (a lamp inside a perforated earthen pot). The light inside the perforated earthen pot symbolizes the embryonic life. This also signifies value of knowledge (light), as opposed to the darkness (ignorance). It is said that just as Lord Krishna popularized the Ras dance, Usha the grand daughter-in-law of Lord Krishna is credited to have popularized Lasya Nritya, which is known today by the name of Garba dance.

 

Garba with the lamp on headsIn this folk dance, the women place the pot known as Garba with the lamp on their heads and move in circular direction, singing and clap at the same time or even snap their fingers, to the accompaniment of folk instruments. A betel nut and a silver coin are placed within the pot, termed as Kumbh, on top of which a coconut is placed. Even in some villages of Gujarat, one would find the tradition of a “Light” (Deevo-Kodiyun) in an earthen pot with the holes all around, placed in the center on a stool and colourful dressed ladies dancing around it by clapping their hands and singing Mataji`s songs. Garba songs are devotional mostly in praise of Mother Goddess Jagdamba describing her form, powers, and invoking her blessings. But in some songs description about seasons and social themes of domestic life is also found. Folk poets compose Garba songs, which are lyrical poems sung in praise of Lord Krishna. Singing together is an invariable accompaniment of Garba Nrtiya. Other forms of Garba are Deevo, Ghado and Garbi.

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Indian Folk Dance – Dandiya


The dandiya is the chief folk dance of Gujarat, which is usually performed in groups, wherein young men and women dressed in colorful costumes, dance in circles with multihued sticks in their hands to the lively beat of drums. This festival is very popular during the Navratri season in October.

Ideally two circles formed by young people move around an imaginary circle in clockwise, anti-clockwise and diagonal directions with two sticks called “dandiyas” held in their hands, which they strike alternately to the right and left. Dandiya is a very energetic, and playful dance providing opportunity for acting and exchanging messages through eye contact.

The uniqueness of dandiya from the rest is its use of colourful, musical sticks, its dress code, the scope it offers for improvisation, innovation and creativity, and the massive number of dancers in any single programme. As for sticks, they were traditionally made of bamboo. However, now a days these sticks come in a variety of colours and kinds clattering of which should be in tune with the music played and at rhythmic intervals, are the markers of time.

Another identifiable feature of dandiya is its dress code. The dress code for women and men are different. For women it is a three-piece ghagras, cholis, and odhni. Men dress up in matching colourful traditional dhotis and aangrakha or kurtas with loads of mirrors on the dress.

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Indian Folk Dance – Jumari

Jumari Dance of Bihar is similar to that of “Garba performed in Gujarat” and it is a folk dance of Mithilanchal of Bihar. This dance is performed only by married women, since most of the rituals are also performed by them and hence, it also signifies a good omen.

After the month of Ashvin in September-October, the next one is the Kartik month and at this time, the sky becomes crystal clear, without any traces of clouds. The full moon looks attractive and spreads its milky rays in all directions. Such a romantic atmosphere gets the married women to go on dancing, singing and celebrating the turns of the season.

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Indian Folk Dance – Bhangra


Bhangra is a popular genre of the Indian folk music, which with its root deeply associated in the land of Punjab has somewhat, redefined the very structure of Indian folk music to a great level. In its conventional sense Bhangra is a typical dace form. It was much later Bhangra crossing the bar of being just a folk dance of the “harvesting season” called the “Vaisakhi “, gradually became a popular musical expression where the term “harmony” gained a definite articulation.

Among the most virile, vigorous and captivating dances of India, Bhangra includes tricks and acrobatic feats in its performance. It strongly reflects the vigor, the vitality, the leaven of exuberance and the hilarity permeated among the rural folk due to the promise of a coming bumper crop. Bhangra includes the drummer who usually stands in the center of the circle in an open space surrounded by dancers who even recite meaningless `bolis`, words such as “Hoay, Hoay”; or “Balle, Balle”, which not only inspire themselves but also others for the dance.

The drummer in this dance, holds two sticks with the help of which he beats the drum, to beckon the dancers to a higher tempo of movement. At the initial stage dance starts with a slow movement of their feet. But as the tempo increases, the entire body comes into action. The dancers whirl round and round bending and straightening their bodies, jumping on one leg, raising their hands and start clapping their hands with their handkerchiefs.

At the intervals, the tempo of the dance becomes slow, dancers stop moving, but continue to beat the rhythm with their feet. One of the dancers from the group come forward near the drummer and covering his left ear with his palm sings a boali or dholla, derived from the traditional folk songs of Punjab. Picking up the last lines of boali, the dancers again start dancing with greater vigor as before.

For powerful music set up, in addition to a drum, chimta-musical tongs and burchu and sound of the beats from earthen vessels are used. The costumes of a Bhangra dancer are unique, which suits the vigor of dance. They are consists of a bright, colored Patka on the head, a lacha or lungi of the same color, a long tunic and a black or blue waistcoat and ghunghroos on the ankles. Some dancers also wear small rings (nuntian) in their ears as an ornament.

The Bhangra season concludes with the fair of Baisakhi when the wheat crop is harvested. There are several styles of performing Bhangra like Sialkoti, Sheikhupuri, Tribal, Malwa, Majha etc. One of the step or move of Bhangra is also similar to the moves of Shiv-Tandav dance, which is danced on one leg by Shiva. Damru i.e. hand-drum is also used in Bhangra.

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Indian Folk Dance – Bihu

The Bihu dance is performed in the Bihu festival, celebrated for the arrival of spring in the Assamese New Year. The people of Assam enjoy this festival with a lot of pomp and show. This is an extremely energetic, fast & an eye-catching dance performance with the rhythmic exuberance of Bihu. Young boys perform the Bihu dances and the girls characterize it by brisk stepping, flinging and movements of hands, stylish footwork and swaying of hips, representing youthful passion & reproductive urge.

Bihu dance is performed during the seedtime and also during the season of marriage. The dance is a part of the Bihu festival that starts in mid-April, when harvesting work of farming is over. In essence, the Bihu dance is a perfect expression of feelings of youth and energy.

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Indian Folk Dance – Lavani

The verve, the enthusiasm, the rhythm and above all the very beat of India finds an expressive declaration amidst the folk music of India, which has somewhat, redefined the term “bliss”. Lavani is indeed one of the most important folk dance forms of India. Originated in the arid region of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Lavani enlaced with its color, dream and effervescence is somewhat like an escape to the land of beauty and love.

The word Lavani did originate from the term “Lavanya” which means beauty. Quite ideally therefore beauty, splendor, magnificence coupled with the aura of sheer feminism laces this classical folk dance form whilst offering it a colossal identity of its own. Although the exact date of the origin of Lavani is still vague, however it is said that in the long gone era this dance form did originate as a typical form of entertainment and also as a boost to the tired soldier. It was much later Lavani became a well-accepted and well-celebrated folk dance form of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Lavani is like a musical discussion and is therefore a harmonious blend of tune, timber, dance, song and tradition. The enchanting beats of the “Dholak” coupled with the zing of the colorful dance form, adds an articulate dimension to this particular Folk music while making it even jazzier. The tempo of Lavani is pretty fast and is often unified with the rhythmic feet of the colorful dancers.

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Indian Folk Dance – Ghoomar

The Ghoomar dance is a very famous and a community dance of women in Rajasthan. It is performed on various auspicious occasions like fairs & festivals. It is called as `Ghoomar`, from the `ghoomna` of Ghaghra i.e. the flowing of Ghaghra, a long skirt of the Rajasthani women. There is an amazing grace as the skirt flair slowly while the women folk twirl in circles, their faces covered with the help of the veil. The performers in Ghoomar dance sway their colorful ghagras that are rich in embroidery work and it is also embellished with mirror-work.

The Ghoomar dance is the characteristic dance of the Bhils and a community dance of the Rajputs, also which only the women traditionally perform. It is considered as one of the traditional rituals among this community. So, on the occasion of marriage, a bride is expected to dance Ghoomar after being welcomed at her husband`s home.

Women from any age group, may it be the young or old can participate in Ghoomar dance. There are simple swaying movements with special kind of footwork, to convey the spirit of any auspicious occasion. Sometimes this dance may continue for hours or the whole night. While dancing, the dancers move in a circular direction with clockwise and anti-clockwise steps. The performers sometimes unite their hands and even clap their hand in-between. The performers move gracefully on the beat of the songs in synchronizing steps. As the tempo of the dance increases, the dancers swirl fleetly.

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