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Five Incredible Folk Dances Of India

Updated on October 24, 2014
Ghoomar Dance In Rajasthan
Ghoomar Dance In Rajasthan | Source

Dance and music are the indispensable part of life. They entertain, relax and help to develop sound relations. Due to diverse culture a variety of dance forms are present around the globe, but all aim to express the theme of culture and tradition. They are performed occasionally to entertain and bring people of similar community together.

Of course, dance is the only tool that wins heart without any hassle. It helps to connect people spiritually living boundaries of creeds, caste and nationality. Though any form of dance plays a significant role to develop a spiritual relation, but folk dances are unique. It is because they do not merely entertain us but also teach the culture which are passed through generations and rarely changed.


Folk Dance An Indispensable Part Of Culture

Folk dance is a tradition based dance style of a specific area, region or community which is performed by a group of people to reflect their traditional spirit. It is a style of dancing that was originated by ordinary people in the eighteenth century to differentiate from classical dances. Folk dances are associated with cultural and social activities. Each country around the world has its own culture and tradition so it is common to have diversified folks. Hence its imprint can be seen in the child's game like "London Bridge" and "The Farmer In The Dell".

Although India has a variety of folk dances associated with different communities, but some of them are entertaining, popular, amazing and worth trying.

"Let us read, let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world"

— Voltaire

Dandiya Raas The Simple Couple Dance With Dress Code

Dandia Raas is the popular folk dance of Gujarat, which is performed by the newly married couple during Navratri festival. It is a simple couple-in-group dance with a dress code that requires energy and enthusiasm. The people around Indian wish to participate and perform it.

Both male and female wear traditional dresses and carry colorful bamboo sticks. These sticks, decorated in various colors and designs, are called "Dandi". Dandiya performers carry sticks in hands so that they can strike them with a partner's stick on the musical beats of fast devotional music.

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Steps To Perform Dandiya Raas

Dandiya Raas is performed in following simple steps : -

  • Couples in traditional dress code stands in circle with colorful sticks in hands facing partner.
  • Begin to perform Dandiya Raas revolving clockwise as well as anticlockwise direction feeling rhythm of fast music.
  • Strike sticks together on the musical beats of devotional musics with right hand on the first count above the head level.
  • Keep on dancing with energetic rhythm and pace. Then sweep the left arm out towards right to hit partner's stick. Later sweep back.
  • Finally strike both sticks with partner's sticks and hit own forming cross.

Excellent Dandiya Sticks To Enjoy Dandiya Raas

Ghoomar The Dance To Show Womanhood

Ghoomar, the community based folk dance of Rajasthan, is one of the most popular and entertaining folks of India. It is performed by a group of women wearing colorful traditional swirling costumes to express their womanhood. The traditional dance of Bhil tribes and Rajputs, is common during weddings, cultural functions and traditional get together.

Actually 'Ghoomar' has been derived from the Hindi word 'Ghoomna'. It means to move around. The Ghoomar performers move around during the dance. Like other folks, this musical dance is also performed with regional folk song and regional musical instruments.

Ghoomar A Folk Dance Worth Watching

Bhangra Competition In Amritsar, Punjab
Bhangra Competition In Amritsar, Punjab | Source

Bhangra Dance Of Enthusiasm And Gaiety

Bhangra is the traditional folk dance and music of Punjab, which performed during the harvest festival called "Baishakhi". It is performed only by men on music from Dhol, chimta and Punjabi folk songs. Bhangra performers have to wear pag (Turban), kurta (Long silk shirt), lungi (Cloth to wrap around waist) and rumal (A hanky to wear in fingers).

Actually Bhangra is composition of various dance forms like Daankara, Dhamaal, Gatka, Giddha, Jhumar, Julli, Kikli, Luddi and Saami, etc. The folk dance with musical style is not only confined to the Punjab rural area but has become popular internationally. Its influence in Missy Elliott's track "Get You Freak On" can be heard. The fusion of music and dance had influenced the Indian film industry also. It is not mere a music genre but also an expression of tradition, custom and culture.

Bihu Dance
Bihu Dance | Source

Bihu The Most Energetic Folk Dance Of Youth

Bihu dance is the most preferred and awaited folk dance of Assam, which is performed during "Bihu". Though it is popular amongst the people of all ages but the youth men and women enjoy it much. It is the combination of brisk dancing steps, rapid hand movements and folk songs.about good harvest, sweet memories and love. During Bihu dance both men and women are dressed in colorful traditional costumes.

Steps Of Bihu Performance- The folk dance of youth is performed in following steps-

  • Performers wear traditional costumes and stand up in a straight line before beginning dance steps.
  • The performance begins with brisk dancing steps with rhythmic music of regional instruments like Dhol, Toka, Pepa, Taal, Gogona, Baani,etc.
  • Rapid hands movements are taken to express emotions or theme of the folk song, which is sung during the performance.
  • Hip's movements also play a vital role to make it splendid.

Charkula - Amazing Dance Worth Watching

Charkula - The Dance To Balance Multi-tiered Earthen Lamps

Charkula is another amazing and most daring folk dance of Uttar Pradesh in India in which performers have to balance multi-tiered earthen lamps while dancing on regional folk songs. Audience become spellbound to see the daring acts during the performance. It is a drama-style dance, balancing a long multi-tiered earthen or bronze lamps. It has been performed in Braj region in Uttarpradesh since Lord Krishna era. Performers wear colorful long traditional dresses and keep oil lamps or Charkula that symbolises "The Govardhan Hill", which was lifted up by Krishna to save villagers from the rain. The magnificent folk dance is performed to the sweet tunes of 'Rasiya' folk songs of the braj region.

Amazing Folk Dances In Different States Of India

Indian State
Folk Dance
Indian State
Folk Dance
Dhol Cholom and Rai Haroba
Andhra Pradesh
Veeranatyam, Kolattam and Lambade
Bamboo Dance
Kathputli Tera Tali and Ghoomar
Raut Nacha
Jammu and Kashmir
Dumhal and Rauf
Garba, Dandiya Raas and Rasalila
Bhangra, Gidda and Panihari
Koodiyattam and Pulikali
Dollu Kunitha
Each state of India has unique Folk Dance and the the list is yet incomplete. Reference - My Personal Article With Perfect Internet

Dance To Express Yourself

"Dance when you're broken open. Dance if you're torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free" - Rume

Dance is the only way to express own emotion in every state of mind. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva performs "Tandava Nritya" in anger. So why do humans not chance for dancing to express pleasure, sorrow or anger, etc. Participation in group dance brings people together and helps to understand each-other. It, too, eliminates bitterness and develops sound relations. So one should dance to relax and express oneself.


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      Shaloo Walia 2 years ago

      Nice informative hub!