Dance has always been one of those art forms which allow us to peep into the culture of a country or community. It is believed to be a cultural symbol everywhere. India being a multicultural nation takes pride in having innumerable dance forms. Out of the numerous forms, Bharatanatyam from Tamil Nadu, Kathak from Northern and Western India, Kathakali from Kerala, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Odissi from Odisha, Sattriya from Assam, Manipuri from Manipur and Mohiniyattam from Kerala are the eight classical dance forms. The rest fall under the category of folk dance.
Though some these folk dances are famous all over the country there are few of them remain unnoticed in spite of being equally enthralling. Through this article, we will throw some light on some of these not so famous forms.
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Santhal is one of the most abundantly found tribes in India.They are majorly found in West Bengal and Jharkhand. They have a rich cultural lineage. The Santhal dance is one of the most famous folk dances in India. It is immensely cheerful and vibrant.
The dance is performed by both men and women of the tribe. The men generally wear dhoti and women wear saree during the performance. They also use accessories, like a turban, tree leaves, flowers, and bushes. The dance is performed during special occasion like spring festival to glory the nature. The dance is accompanied by folk music.
The word chhau has been derived from the Sanskrit word chhaya which means shadow or mask.
This dance form is popular in the state of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. This is a mythological dance derived from various episodes of Ramayana and Mahabharata. This dance form also includes elements of martial arts into its movements. There are three forms of Chhau dance based on the place of origin namely Purulia Chhau, Mayurbhanj Chhau and Seraikella Chhau.The male dancers wear colourful dhotis and kurtas and the female dancers wear sarees. The masks worn during the performance play a vital role in conveying the emotions and the nature of the character. Purulia Chhau Dance is also listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list of dances.
Kalbelia dance form is closely associated with the Kalbelia tribe of Rajasthan.Kalbelia tribe is a nomadic tribe and expertise as snake charmers and snake catchers. Kalbelia is only performed by women while the men play instruments and provide the music. The women gracefully move their body to match the movement of the snake. The dancers wear long skirts( Ghagra) generally black in colour which they weave themselves and put on traditional jewellery. Kalbelia dance and songs are a part of UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Charkula dance owes its birth to the Krishna era. This dance form is popular in Braj city of Uttar Pradesh and is also widely popular in Madhya Pradesh. Through this dance form, the different epics and episodes of the life of Lord Krishna are depicted. The women carry lamps on their head during the performance. Also, these lamps are pyramidally arranged on some specific structures.
The women dress up in beautiful costumes and ornaments while performing. It is specifically performed on the third day of Holi, the day when Radha was said to be born. This folk dance is even performed on the tune of rasiya which is a folk song of celebrating love.
This dance form is performed in the talukas of Goa (northern boundary of Goa). Ghode means horse and mondi mean gyration or movement as the name suggests the dance literally involves the movement of a horse. It is performed to commemorate the victory of the Maratha rulers. The dancers tie wooden horses which are beautifully decorated around their waist, brandishing swords, execute their war like dance on the beat of dholaks and tashas.
6. Cheraw dance
Cheraw dance is basically performed in the state of Mizoram. It is popularly known as the bamboo dance.In the performance, the dancer moves by stepping alternatively in and out between and across a pair of horizontal bamboos.While the men hold the bamboos, the women dance between the bamboos. The dancers are expected to have extraordinary skills.
Cheraw is generally performed at the time of harvest, during marriage ceremonies and at the time of merry-makings to celebrate success. It is generally performed on moonlit nights.
Rouf is mainly performed in the parts of Kashmir. Rouf involves slow and easy movements and is a visual treat. During the performance, the women dress up in colourful traditional costumes and face each other in two rows.Rouf is generally performed on beautiful poetic songs call Chakri.It is performed on special occasions, marriages and at the time of festivals especially Eid.
It is one of the most famous folk dances of Karnataka. It is a drum based dance form accompanied by singing. It is performed to please the deity Beereshwara. It is also associated with the spiritual well-being of the performers apart from entertainment. It is mainly performed by the men of the Kuruba community.It is characterized by vigorous drum beats, quick movements, and synchronized group formations.
These dance forms definitely depict the diverse culture of our country. Though we realize that there are still many other beautiful forms which deserve a mention here but it was not possible for us to bring out all of those in a single article. For now, follow the links and treat your eyes with these mesmerizing dance forms.
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