Saturday, 9 January 2016

Important Folk Dances of India

Performed by the members of the Kamada tribe, who are traditional snake charmers. Terah Taal Dance, Rajasthan is one of the ancient performing arts of Rajasthan. 

Performed along with Manjeeras and other metallic discs which are made of bronze, brass, copper and zinc.

During the Terah Taal Dance, Rajasthan the music of the Ektara accompanies the dance performance. Manjeeras are tied to thirteen different parts of the parts of the body. The sounds of these Manjeeras produce the Terah Taal or the thirteen beats.

Often during the Terah Taal the dances with swords are also performed. The Terah Taal Dance, Rajasthan requires accuracy and precision which can only be done by the professional dancers who participate in this beautiful dance performance.

Terah thirteen cymbals are used to give rhythm to the intricate movements of the performer and to provide a synchronous pulse to the accompanying musical instruments as well as the devotional singing is a bewitching performance. 

Nine cymbals are fastened on the right leg, seven between the knee and the ankle, one on the instep, one on the big toe, and each on both the arms, while the performer or sometimes two, sit in front the heroon housing the image of the legendary Ramdeoji along with the accompanists playing on chutara and khartla, singing songs in adoration of the saint.

Kalbelia Dance

Kalbeliya is a nomadic community who sometimes introduces themselves as Naath, Jogi, Sapere and Sadhu. Their family business is to catch snakes. 

This comes in handy as they showcase a number of tricks using these snakes while giving spectacular shows in nearby villages and qasbas and at their Jajmaan’s place and thus earn livelihood for themselves. As the time changed they have made permanent lodgings outside the cities.

Pungi is a special instrument of Kalbeliya community. They catch snakes with the help of pungi. They enchant the snake by playing this instrument and then catch it. They believe that the snake can never bite them and they also make ‘Surma’ using the snake’s poison . Due to the use of Surma they believe that they will never lose their eye sight.

The women of this community are expert in singing and dancing. In olden times the women use to sing and dance only on special occasions such as weddings, festivals etc. in their very own distinct style.

As times changed these women started performing stage shows around the whole world and with it changed their dancing style as well as their attires. Their swaying dresses, made up of colourful beads give a distinct identity to the women of Kalbeliya community. What makes this attractive dress more interesting is that it is made by the Kalbeliya women themselves.

A very interesting fact about them is that they never teach the folk arts to their children. They gain expertise in singing and dancing by watching the elders doing it at home.

Bhavai Dance

Bhavai is a genre of folk dance popular in Rajasthan state in western India. The male or female performers balance a number of earthen pots or brass pitchers as they dance nimbly, pirouetting and then swaying with the soles of their feet perched on the top of a glass, on the edge of the sword or on the rim of a brass thali (plate) during the performance.

 The accompaniment to the dance is provided by the male performers singing melodious songs and playing a number of musical instruments, which include pakhwaja, dholak, jhanjhar, sarangi, and harmonium.

Traditionally, this genre of dance was performed by the female performers belonging to the Jat, Bhil, Raigar, Meena, Kumhar, and Kalbelia communities of Rajasthan. It is assumed that this genre of dance was evolved from the exceptional balancing skills of the females of these communities developed to carry a number of pots of water on head over a long distance in the desert.

Garbha dance

Garba Dance is a popular folk Dance of Gujarat. It is a circular form of dance performed by ladies on the Navaratri days, Sharad Purnima, Vasant Panchami, Holi and such other festive occasions. The basics of the dance are singing and clapping rhythmically while going round the goddess.

Garba is the leading dance of women in Gujarat. The Garba dance is performed throughout nine nights of Navaratri. The actual performance begins at night after the women finish their house hold work. All gather at street corners.

Women folk come out into the open and with perforated earthen pots holding lighted lambs poised on the head sing, clap. Garba songs are mostly in praise of Mother Goddess Amba. The rhythm is kept by a Dholi or drummer who sit in the centre.

The costumes and the instruments used during these folkdances are also typical folk costumes which mostly consist of a short coat called Kedia with tight sleeves with embroidered borders and shoulders, tight trousers like the Churidars and colourfully embroidered caps or coloured turbans and a coloured waist band.

Instruments used in the dance are Damru, Tabla, Nagara, pot drum, percussion, Ektaro, Ravan hattho, Jantar, Pavo, shehani, murli, turi, and taturi.

Bhangra dance

Originally, the bhangra was just a folk dance that was confined to the Punjab during the harvest festival of Baisakhi.  This was performed only by men, while the women would perform the giddha.  

Over the centuries, bhangra grew to encompass not only the giddha but a number of rural Punjabi folk dances.  It grew in popularity, and expanded its range to the point where bhangra was then found over much of Northwest India and Pakistan. 

 Furthermore, it could be performed on any festive occasion, and not just during the harvest festival.

The seeds of bhangra's growth as an international artform began not in India, but in Great Britain.The Indo-Pakistan expatriate community was lacking a clear symbol of its own ethnic identity.  

This community was starting to be comprised of second and third generation South Asians.  They could no longer easily relate to a changed India or Pakistan, but were also unable to completely assimilate into traditional British society.  They were struggling to have a clear symbol of their own identity.  In this cultural vacuum, the bhangra grew to become an important symbol of their self identity.

Bhangra first began to make its mark internationally during the 1970's.  At this time, artists such as A.S. Kang and Kuldip Manak began to make a commercial success out of it.  It was also in this period that bhangra began to be widely accepted as a genre of music rather than simply a dance form.  In the next few decades bhangra grew into a truly international phenomenon.  It is to be found wherever there is a large expatriate Indian community.

We have seen bhangra expand further until now it is almost a subculture.  Implicit in the bhangra are not just the music and dance, but also a lifestyle.  At first, this might be hard to conceive, but it certainly is not a unique occurrence.  Perhaps the most well known example of this sort of thing was the disco movement in the late 70s; disco too encompassed music, dance, as well as a whole lifestyle.

Instruments used in the dance are daf, dhol, ektar,s arangi, chimpta, dholak, and dhad

Koli dance

Koli is the dance form of Koli fisher folk of Maharashtra. The community has its own distinct identity and lively dances.
The dance incorporates elements that this community is most familiar with - sea and fishing. 

The dance is performed by both men and women divided into two groups, where fishermen stand in two rows holding oars in their hands.

The dancers move in unison, portraying the movement of the rowing of a boat. Fisherwomen are in the opposite rows with their arms linked and advancing towards men folk.

 The separate formation then break up and they dance together with movements symbolizing the waves, the breakers and rowing from cliff to cliff and casting of nets to catch the fish.

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