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Folk & Tribal Dances of India

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Indian folk and tribal dances range from simple, joyous celebrations of the seasons of the harvest, or the birth of a child to ritualistic dances to propitiate demons and invoke spirits. There are dances involving balancing tricks with pitchers full of water, or jugglery with knives. Other dances highlight activities like ploughing, threshing and fishing. Some dances are extremely simple with a minimum of steps or movements, but most are very vigorous and lively. The costumes are generally flamboyant with extensive use of jewelry by both the sexes. Tribal dancers of northeast India wear exotic head-dresses of feathers and animal relics, ornaments of beads and shells. Some dances are performed exclusively by men and women, but most have them dancing together. Nearly all involve singing by the dancers. The drum is the most common of the folk instruments that provide musical accompaniment to these dances.

Amongst the occupational groups, the most enthusiastic dancers are the dhobis, the chamars and the ahirs. The dhobis dance to celebrate any significant occasion. They sing and dance on the occasion of a birth or marriage, and during Holi or Dussehra.

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