Rajasthan has many forms of folk dances which are attractive, skillfull and somewhat enjoyable by any age group. Rajasthani folk dances are popular all around the globe. Some of the Rajasthan’s traditional dance forms are very much different as only skilled person can do it. The Ghoomar dance from Udaipur and Kalbeliya dance of Jaisalmer have gained international recognition. Folk music is a vital part of Rajasthani culture. Kathputli, Bhopa, Chang, Teratali, Ghindr, Kachchhighori, Tejaji, etc. are the examples of the traditional Rajasthani culture.
Among all Rajasthani folk dances, Ghoomar, Kathputli (Puppet) and kalbelia (Sapera or Snake Charmer) dance attracts tourists very much. Rajasthani folk dances are originated from different tribes and mainly used at past time to entertain Kings. Folk songs are commonly ballads which relate heroic deeds and love stories; and religious or devotional songs known as bhajans and banis
The dances of Rajasthan are so inviting and engaging that they are bound to induce you to tap a foot or two along with the dancers. Rajasthani dances are essentially folk dances tracing their origin to rural customs and traditions. What is more interesting is that keeping alive the numerous dance forms are not the professional dancers but the ordinary rural men and women of Rajasthan. The dancers practicing these dance forms are, till date, religiously following the age old traditions and that’s where, the beauty of these dances lies. Apart from the simple expressions and daring movements that add beauty to the dances, there are the vibrant and colorful costumes adorned by the dancers. For the dancers of Rajasthan, the Thar Desert is the centre stage which enhances the beauty of the dances at the backdrop of the setting sun. Some of the folk dances of Rajasthan are illustrated herein.
This ancient dance form is performed by women of the Kalbelia community who, by profession, are snake charmers and trade in snake venom. This ancient dance form has dance movements similar to the movements of the serpents and hence, even the costumes are black colored. Interestingly, women dance on the music produced by the ‘Been’, an instrument used to charm the snakes. This is an extremely sensuous dance form which completely enthralls the onlookers.
Kalbelia dance is a folk dance of Rajasthan state of India. It is well known by other names like ‘Sapera Dance’ or ‘Snake Charmer Dance’. Kalbelia dance is particularly performed by a Rajasthani tribe called ‘Kalbelia’. The popularity of this dance is so much world wide that Rajasthan’s Kalbelia dance and songs are now in UNESCO’s representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity from the year 2010. In Kalbelia dance, males play various traditional instruments and females perform dance. Kalbelia dance is one of the most sensuous dance among all Rajasthani dances.
Kalbelia Dance Evolution
Kalbelia dance is a dance of Kalbelia tribe of Rajasthan. This tribe is a community of Rajasthan which in ancient time known move frequently from one place to another rather than staying and building their homes at one place. Kalbelia tribe people are known to have main occupation of catching snakes and trading snake venom. They are also called Sapera’s or Snake Charmers. Kalbelia folk dance is perform by females on the tunes of Been on the occasion of joy in the Kalbelia community. There is no any organized training system or school, manuscripts, and written text to teach and learn Kalbelia songs and Kalbelia dance. This folk art is transmitted from generation to generation.
Kalbelia Dance Elements
Kalbelia dance has a traditional musical instruments which is Poongi also called Been. Poongi is a kind of woodwind musical instrument used by Kalbelia tribe during catching snakes. Other traditional musical instruments used by Kalbelia tribe in Kalbelia dance are Dufli, Morchang, Dholak, Khanjari and Khuralio. When these instruments play altogether with poongi, they result into a sensuous and amazing music.
Kalbelia dance main performer are females dancers who dances and swirl, replicating the movements of a serpent. Dancers wear a traditional dress of Kalbelia tribe. On the upper body, the female Kalbelia dancers wear Angrakhi. On the head, the female Kalbelia dancers wear Odhani. They wear a long skirt on the lower body which has a wide circumference. This long skirt of Kalbelia dancers is called Lehanga or Ghagra. This complete dress is essentially black in color with the red decorative laces. Embroidery from silver thread in various patterns on the black dress resembles a black snake with white spots or white stripes. Mirror work on the dresses of Kalbelia dancers also find many times. Kalbelia dancers wear lot of traditional jewellery.
- Vrindavan Is Existed In The Centre Of That Great Land Which Inspire Many Great Saints And Philosophers And Has Also Kalidah The Place Where He Enslaved The King Of Poisonous Snake (Naga) In The Midst Of Kalindi (Yamuna River) Besides Making Each One Of The Thousands Of Gopikas To Think Themselves As Radha.
- From Many Years In All Parts Of India. This Is Cultural Organ Of Mathura In The State Of Up Many Trained And Experienced Artist Of Dramatic Art Presents The Live Shows Of Following
- Worshiping Of Brij Bhoomi, Krishna And Radha Through Musical Songs In Brij Bhasha (Spoken In Brij).
- When Radha Ji Wants To See Dance Of Peacock, To Fulfil Her Desire, Lord Krishna Portrays Himself As Peacock And Performs Dance Like Mayur.
- Chakra Nritya Is A Representation Of Lord Vishnu’s Chakra (Sudarshana Chakra) Where A Heavy Brass Plate Is Revolved Only On Index Finger And Thrown 15-20 Feet Above In The Air And Rebalanced Similar To Its Previous State And Same Action Is Repeated Many A Times.
- It Is A Folk Tale Of Uttar Pradesh In India Of Times When Radha (Paramour Of Shri Krishna) Was Born About Five Thousand Years Back In The Village Of Barsana. The People Of That Place Put Many Lamps On The Flat Wheel Of Chariot. Then They Danced With The Chariot Wheel On Their Head. Even Today The Farmers Of The Area Enjoy Similar Tradition Just Before The Harvesting Season. Please Note The Wheel Is Called Charkula In The Local Dialect And It Usually Weighs About 40 Kgs, Hence The Name Of Charkula Dance.
- Raslila Is A Famous Art Form Originating In Braj In Uttar Pradesh In North India. This Folk Art Has Elements Of Classical Music, Dace And Drama. Raslila Is Associated With Radha And Krishna And Their Divine Love. It Is A Joyous Circular Dance Of Sri Krishna And His Playmates. Today We Have Villagers In India Taking Part In Raslila And Depicting Various Stories Of Radha And Krishna Through Dance, Music And Drama.
It Also Portrays Krishna’s Association With The Milkmaids Or Gopis Of The Village. It Shows How Krishna Casts A Spell On The Gopis Who Wanted Him To Be Their Dance Partner. Raslila Has A Basic Script Which Has To Be Followed, But It Has Enough Scope For Improvisation As Well. Though The Emphasis Of Raslila Is On ‘Darshan’ Or The Visual Appeal, It Is Important To Capture The ‘Bhava’ Or The Sentiment. This Is Done Through Music, Dance And Drama Enacted By The Actors.
The Various ‘Raasas’ Or Dramatic Flavors Like Friendship, Conjugal Love, Parental Love, Amazement, Compassion, Humour, Chivalry, Fury, Fear And Dread Are Expressed Through This Traditional Folk Form.
- “Dandiya Raas”, Which Is Performed During Navratri. In Fact, It Holds A Significant Place In Navratri Celebrations. It Is Known For Setting The Festive Mood. Dandiya Raas Is The Featured And Most Popular Dance Of Navratri Evenings In Gujarat. The Dance Form Is Not Just Restricted To Gujarat. It Is Performed In Many Other States, During The Festive Season Of Navratri. Dandiya Raas Is Performed In The Honor Of Goddess Durga. Attach Photo
- In Brij, People Enjoy Holi With Danda (A Form Of Bamboo Which Is A Little Bit Short But Very Stout), Colors (Abeer, Gulaal) And With Flowers. This Festival Is Quite Famous And Popular And Played With Great Enthusiasm. The Women Try To Strike Men With These Dandas And The Men Try To Escape And This Goes On As A Play. In Nandgaon And Barsana Holi Is Played With Sweets (Laddoo’s).
Phoolon Ki Holi
- Krishna And Radha Play Holi With Flower Petals. Several Qunitals Of Flower Petals Are Used In This Leela.
Kachhi-Ghodi Dance -
Kacchi-Ghodi, or the dummy horse dance, originated from the bandit regions of Shekhawati. The dancers are elaborately dressed, and so are the dummy horses, which perform sword fighting sequences with utmost vigor. A ballad singer usually sings the tales of chivalrous men. This dance form is generally performed on gay occasions.
Rajasthan Kathputli dance is world famous and well known as Puppetry dance. It is the old tradition of stories from mythology and legends are told through puppets in Rajasthan. String puppetry is very much famous in Rajasthan.
Langa Party -
Bhavai is one of the traditional folk dances of Rajasthan. This is a very difficult form of dance and can only be performed by skilled artists. This dance basically involves women dancers balancing 8 to 9 pitchers on their heads and dancing simultaneously. This nail biting , suspenseful dance, the well skilled dancers balance a number of earthen pots or brass picthers and then sway with the soles of their feet perched on the top of a glass and also sometime on the edge of a naked sword or on the rim os a brass thali (plate) during the performance.
This artistic form of dance is belived to be originated in the neigbouringing state Gujrat and was soon picked up and adapted by the local tribal men and women and gave it a distinctive Rajasthani essence. This traditional folk dance, performed by the womens of the Jat, Bhil, Raigar, Meena, Kumhar, and Kalbelia communities of Rajasthan evolved from the extraordinary quality and capacity of the these communities to carry a number of pots of water on head over a long distance in the desert.
Bhavai dance Elements
The male musician, playing the background music are the accompaniment of this artistic Bhavai dancers. Generally a melodious Rajasthani folk song are being sung by the musicians, adding to beauty of the Bhavai dance. Many instruments like pakhwaja, dholak jhanjhar, sarangi, harmonium are played while the performance of the Bhavai dance as a background music. The dancers are adorned beautifully. They are dressed traditionally in colourful Rajasthani dresses, making the dance more attractive.
Bhavai Dance Celebration
On many occasions Bhavai dance is performed. In festive occasion as well as in marriages also Bhavai dance performance can be seen. The government has taken all necessary measures to revive this fast dying tradition of folk dance. Many non government organizations are also taking active role in the promotion of this folk culture. This artistic folk dance is promoted in different part of India as well as overseas also.
As the name resembles, Chakri, means ‘Chakkar’ (Circle) rotation in hindi lang. Chakri is one of the most popular folk dance of Kanjar tribe. Kanjar tribe inhabited in some parts of Kota and Baran district of Rajasthan.Chakri Dance is performed in almost all the marriages and festival in the Haroti region of Rajasthan. Chakri dance is performed exclusively by the womenfolk of Kanjar tribe and it is also their main source of livelihood.
Chakri Dance History and Elements
Chakri dance is believed as same as the Raai dance of ‘Beriyas’ tribe of Madhya Pradesh. It is also found in nerby places of Chhipa Barod etc.Chakri dance involves a series of fast and vigorous spinning movements with the beats of the Dholak. Chakri dance is accompanied by traditional songs where male performer produces robust rhythm on the Dholak.
Chari dance is one of the popular folk dances in Rajasthan India. This dance describes the art of collecting water in a chari or pot by the Rajasthani womens in their day to day life. The woman’s travels miles to collect water for the families and the joy is reflected through this Chari dance. This folk dance is performed by groups of dancers. In chari dance woman hold chari or pots on their head and a lighted lamp is then placed in the pot.
The famous Chari dance belongs to Gujjar community of Kishangarh and only womens perform in this dance. These ladies carry brass pots on their heads balancing it to perfection. These pots are kept ignited with the cotton seeds dipped in oil. These lit pots display beautiful effect in the dark night. While performing the Chari dance woman dance with balancing brass pots (Chari) on their heads and move together and dance on a same sequence. This dance does not have any particular movements except balancing the pots on their heads. This dance is also known as a welcome dance and is a significance of goodness. It can also be considered as the traditional fire dance of Rajasthan.
Chari Dance Elements
The Gujjar womens dress traditionally in colourful Rajasthani dresses while performing the Chari dance. The dancers wear big nose rings, on top of their heads they wear khol(define) of coconut. Sampan ladies wear gold ornaments, Hansli, timniya, mogri, punchi, bangdi, gajra, armlets, karli, tanka, navr are the main ornaments. The background Rajasthani folk music is also one of the reason for the attraction towards this dance . Instruments like dhol, dholak,bankiya, harmonium, nagada and thali.are are used to make folk activity more colourful.
Chari Dance Celebration
The Chari Dance is often perform at the time of marriage occasions, on the birth of a male child or any big festival celebration in Rajasthan India
Fire dance is a unique dance famous in the desert region of Rajasthan. This folk dance describes the lifestyle of Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu districts of Rajasthan India. This is a very difficult dance to perform and is carried out by the Banjara community. This enchanting folk dance is believe to be the dance of tantric powers of the Jasnathis. This dance is the outstanding example of the lifestyle of the Banjara community and is performed on a large ground, spread with live wood and charcoal. Here the Jasnathi men and boys jump on to the fire with the accompaniment of drum beats. The dance involves breathtaking fire stunts wherein the dancers perform by holding fire rods in their hands and filling up their mouths with kerosene. The fire rods are also moved on their heads and legs by the dancers. The dancers perform their actions as if they are blessed with a divine protection. The performance on a large bed of flaming coals is considered as a specialty of this region.
Enchanting Fire Dance
The devotional and exciting performance of fire dance can be seen at late nights of winter in Rajasthan. The music which plays during fire dance rises in tempo and ends like a crescendo. The Rajasthani folk music play with dhol, nagada, and dholak during fire dance. The drumbeats give a tempo for the performance and gradually rises & sets a dance in a fast tempo. At a certain point, it reaches at a crescendo, where the dancers seem to be in a trance like state. Some of the traditional folk dances, performed by the Banjara Community of Rajasthan is also sometime called as the fire dance, but is completely different from the above-mentioned performance. Here, the dance is performed around the Fire. The person dancing usually takes two flamed sticks in his hands and fills up his mouth with kerosene oil. With the accompaniment of some dancing steps, he throws the oil over the lamps.
Fire Dance Celebration
The fire dance is performed in the desert region of Rajasthan on the festive occasions like Holi, Janmashtami etc. This unique dance performance attracts viewers from all over.
Ghoomar is a traditional as well as an enthusiastic folk dance of Rajasthan. Ghoomar or Ghumar was basically developed by the Bhil tribe and was adopted by other Rajasthani communities. The Ghoomar dance is a particularly a women’s dance and performed by the women for exclusively ladies gatherings. Ghoomar dance is perform by groups of women moving in circular fashion and in swirling robes accompanied by men and women singing together. This spectacular folk dance derived its name from ‘ghoomna’. Fascination starts when colors of the flowing ‘ghaghara’, the long skirt of the Rajasthani women flows during pirouetting. There is an amazing grace as the skirt flair slowly while the women twirl in circles, their faces covered with the help of the veil. This splendid view feels body with enthusiasm and more when one join the dance.
Ghoomar Dance, People, Performance
Ghoomar sometimes called Jhumar, can be joyfully perform by women from any age group as it has simple swaying movements. Its specialty is its special kind of footwork. There no time limit for this folk dance as it may continue for hours or the whole night.
Dancers performing Ghoomar moves in a circular direction with clockwise and anti-clockwise steps and in between performers sometimes unite their hands and even clap their hand. Synchronization of steps with the beats of the songs is important and as the tempo of the dance increases, the dancers swirl fleetly.
The popular Ghoomar Dance in Rajasthan India is known to be the characteristic dance of the Bhil tribe. The Kachhwaha Clan of Rajputs who ruled Jaipur, defeated the Bhils and later acceded to a peaceful coexistence. It is therefore normal that the royalty would pick up some of the Bhil traditions and practices. From then it get associated with the royal ladies of Jaipur, who perform it on certain auspicious occasions.
Now it is performed on festive days in middle-class families in Udaipur, Jodhpur and Kota–Bundi areas. In Udaipur, it resembles the Garva of neighbouring Gujarat and is very musical. In Jodhpur, the movement of the limbs are jerky. The Ghoomar of Kota-Bundi is very lively and impressive. The tune of the song which accompanies this dance is melodious and catchy.
Ghoomar Dance Celebrations
Ghoomar dance is perform on the occasion of festive days and considered as one of the traditional rituals on the occasion of marriage, a bride is expected to dance Ghoomar after being welcomed at her husband`s home.
The Kachhi Ghodi Dance is one of the most popular Folk Dances of Rajasthan. This folk dance originated from the bandit regions of Shekhawati and is generally performed for the entertainment of the bridegroom’s party.This dance is performed by mens on dummy horses. Men wear elaborate costumes- red turbans and dhotis and kurtas, embellished with brilliant mirror-work and ride the dummy horses. These dancers move rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes by holding a naked sword on theie hand while a singer narrates the exploits of the Bavaria bandits of Shekhawati region hrough his song.
Kachi Ghodi Dance Elements
Kachi Ghodi Dance, a lively folk dance, uses mock fights and the brandishing of swords, nimble sidestepping and pirouetting to the music of fifes and drums. This form of folk dance is generally performed by the tribes of Rajasthan and are reflective of the socio historical scenario peculiar to the time or race they depict. From the olden days horses have played an important role in the transportation as well in the warfare of Rajasthan. Even Maharana Pratap Singh goes untold with the mention of his loyal vehicle- Chetak. Horses were also used to symbolize royal power during those days.
The songs in the Kachhi Ghodi Dance are generally about the overt businessman and traders of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. And traders meant money; and traders meant long overnight journeys on caravans laden with expensive wares. The Kachhi Ghodi Dance Rajasthan depicts the confrontation of the bandits of the Bavaria clan of tribes with the passing commoners.
Terah Taali is one of the folk dances of the princely state, Rajasthan. This folk dance is performed by the Kamada tribes who are traditional snake charmers. Besides this it is also performed by the tribes of Mirasi, Bhand, Dholi, Bhat and Nat. It is also practiced by Pokhran and Deedwana, to honour their folk hero, Baba Ramdeo, it consists of women sitting on the floor before his image.
Terah Taali Dance is generally performed by well skilled artists. Thirteen manjeeras ( little brass disc) are tied to various parts of their body, which they strike with the ones they hold in their hand. This creates a rhythm on which the dancers move. The dancers perform various arabesques with their hands and the same time may also also balance pots on their hands and hold a sword in their mouth, for making the performance more attractive. The dance begin with the women, who sit on the floor and her body parts are tied with the manjeeras. These are tied on their wrists, elbows, waists, arms and a pair in their hands as well and her accompanists chants slowly in rhythm.
About Terah Taali Dance
Terah Taali Dance is one of the complex as well as an excellent folk dance of Rajasthan. The Thirteen cymbals used in the different body parts of the female dancer is magnificent scene to watch. The way the dancer matches the swinging manjeeras with the rhythm of the background music is a beauty. The Manjeeras and other metallic discs, used in the Terah Taali dance are made of bronze, brass, copper and zinc. Often a swords is also used by the professional Terah Taali dancer and also a pot on her to make the dance more attractive. Male artists sings local Rajasthani folk songs as a background music and play different instruments like pakhwaja, dholak jhanjhar, sarangi, harmonium etc.
Terah Taali Dance Celebrations
The dancers perform various arabesques, while doing this, and for more special effects and for capturing the public gaze, at times the women also balance numerous pots on their hands and hold a sword in their mouth. Their balancing act spellbinds the viewers. When the tempo of the music increases its a beauty to watch Terah Taali Dance. In festive occasion, sometime in marriages also Terah Taali dance performance can be seen. The government has taken all necessary measures to revive this fast dying tradition of folk dance. Many non government organizations are also taking active role in the promotion of this folk culture. This artistic folk dance is promoted in different part of India as well as overseas also.
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