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Folk & Tribal Dances Of Indian States & Uts

||Introduction||  ||Classical dances|| Folk/Tribal Dances|| Modern Dances|| Great Dancers & Choreographers|| 

Madhya Pradesh

Baredi Dance:

It is performed by male members of the Ahir (cowherd) community of the Bundhelkhand region on the occasion of Diwali. This dance is known as Raut dance in the Chattisgarh region.

Beg Phutni:

It is performed in the Bastar district at the time of sowing.

Bhagoria:

It is performed by Bhils during Holi festival.

Chait Danda:

It is performed in the month of Chaitra.

Dagla:

It is performed by Bhils.

Dandaria:

It is performed by Gonds.

Goncha:

It is typical of Bastar district.

Jawara:

It is performed in the Bundelkhand area and is essentially a harvest dance, reflecting the gaiety and pleasure of the peasants who have reaped a good harvest.

Kamchino:

It is performed by a group of 6-8 men. Ghero, Panthi, Saundarya and Saila Reena are other popular dance forms.

Maharashtra

Dahikala, Pawadas, Lavni and Holi dance are important folk dance forms of Maharashtra.

 

Dhangari Gaja:

Dhangari Gaja is performed by Dhangars (Shepherds) of Sholapur District of Maharastra. The Dhangars rear sheep and goats to make their living. The surrounding green pastures and evergreen trees inspire them to compose poetry. The poetry is in a form called �Ovi� which is made up of couplets. Sometimes fantastical stories are also told through this form. Tales of the birth of their God "Biruba" are found in simple and earthy lines. Once every year the Dhangars return home to honour 'Biruba'. They spend their time with their families and beloved ones. The Dhangari Gaja dance is performed to please their God for His blessings. Dhangars dance in traditional Marathi dresses - dhoti, Angarakha and Pheta with colourful handkerchiefs. Dancers move around a group of drum players.

Dindi and Kala (Dahikala):

These are religious devotional dances which describe the playful attitude of Lord Krishna. Dindi is a small drum, like a 'Tamate'. The musicians in the centre, comprising of a 'Mridangam' player and a vocalist, give the dancers surrounding them the necessary musical background. This is usually performed on the Ekadashi day in the month of Kartik.

Lavni:

This dance emphasises erotic, acrobatic movements and gestures. Tarpha Nach or Pavri Nach: This dance is typical of the Kokna tribals found in the hilly regions of the Northwest. The dance is accompanied by the tarpha or pavri, a wind instrument made of dried gourd.
 

Manipur

Basant Ras:

It is performed during full moon in March-April.

Diva Ras:

It is performed during daytime.

Inthona Lam:

It is a festival dance of the Tarao tribe.

Lam-Kut-Lam:

It is performed by the Kom tribes.

Laiharaoba Dance:

It is an ancient village dance, which is the fountainhead of the modern Manipuri dance form.

Khamba Thoibi Dance:

It is a duet of male and female partners, a dance of dedication to the sylvan deity, Thangjing of Moirang.

Maharas:

It is performed during full moon nights in December

Maibi Dance:

It is the dance performed by the Meiteis during the festival of Lai-Haraoba.

Nupa Pala:

Nupa Pala, which is otherwise known as Kartal Cholom or Cymbal Dance, is a group performance of male partners, using cymbals and wearing snow white ball-shaped large turbans, who sing and dance to the accompaniment of Pung or Manipuri Mridanga.

Pung Cholom:

This dance form owes its origin to 'Kirtan' of Sri Chaitanya. It is performed as an invocatory number preceding the Sankirtana and Ras Lila. It is a highly refined classical dance number characterised by the modulation of sound from a soft whisper to a thunderous climax. There is the interplay of intricate rhythms and cross rhythms with varying markings of time from the slow to the quick with graceful and vigorous body movements. Thambal Chongbi: It is performed during Holi in moon-lit nights.

Thang-ta:

This is one of the most thrilling dances of Manipur and is performed by young men with swords and shields. Yumsarol, Pae-S-Jogoi, Lai Haroba and Ras Lila are the other important dance forms of Manipur.
 

Meghalaya

Behdiengkhlam:

This is the most important festival dance of the Jaintias. It is celebrated annually at Jowai in Jaintia Hills during the month of July. This dance is accompanied by the tunes of drums and flute.

Laho:

It is performed by the Jaintia tribe.

Nongkrem Dance:

Popularly known as Ka Pamblang Nongkrem, this is the most important dance of the Khasis and is celebrated during autumn essentially as a thanks-giving ceremony to God for the harvest and to pray for peace and prosperity.

Shad Sukmynsiem:

It a thanks-giving dance of the Khasis. Maidens dressed in traditional fineries and men folk in colourful costumes participate in the dance to the accompaniment of drums and flute.

Wangla:

This dance performed by the Garo tribe. The music is played on long oval-shaped drums.
 

Mizoram

Chawnglaiznam:

It is performed by the Pawi tribe

Chheihlam:

It is a tribal dance, which embodies the spirit of joy and jubilation. The dance is performed to the accompaniment of a song called 'chheihhla'.

Chiraw:

It is another popular dance form.

Nagaland

The sense of fun and frolic of the Nagas is seen in many of their dances. All the Naga tribes have their particular harvest dances.

Aaluyattu:

It is performed by the Konyak tribe.

Agurshikukula:

It is a war dance.

Butterfly Dance:

It is performed by the Zeliang tribe

Changai Dance:

It is performed by the Changs.

Khamba Lim:

It is performed by two groups of men and women who stand in two rows. A similar dance is known as the Akhu.

Kuki Dance:

It is performed by the Nagas using bamboo sticks.

Leshalaptu:

It is performed by the women.

Mayur Dance:

It is an animal dance.

Modse:

It is performed by Ao tribe

Monyoasho:

It is another dance form of Nagaland.

Sadal Kekai:

It is performed by the Kuki tribe.

Seecha & Kukui Kucho:

These dances performed by the Angami tribe.

Shankai & Moyashai:

It is a victory dance performed by Lotha tribe.

Rengma:

It is performed by the Rengma tribe, especially during the Ngada festival.
 

Orissa

Chhau, Jatra Ghat, Kamana Ghat, Odissi (Batu Ntriya, Nartana, Natangi), Maya Shavari, Ruk Mar Nacha, Danda-nata, Chaitighoda, Dalkhai, Medha (mask dance), Paika Nritya (battle dance), Karma dance, Bahaka Wata and Goti Pua are the important dance forms of Orissa.

Bandha:

Bandha is considered as "the forgotten forerunner of the lyrical Odissi". Practised by Gotipua dancers and characterised by acrobatic poses, bandha is now flourishing in places like Raghurajpur, Konark, and Pithapur in Puri district and some akahdas (gymnasiums) in the heart of Orissa. Bandha is characterised by intricate postures of the body. Aloka Kanungo, the renowned Odissi danseuse, is trying the fusion of the traditional bandha with modern Odissi.

Dalkhai:

This vigorous dance is performed by women of some of the tribes in Sambalpur, Barghar and Sonepur districts in Orissa at the time of seasonal festivals. It is mostly performed in the Oriya month of aswina during the Durga Puja festival. A dummy horse version is the Chaiti Ghorha, danced by a community of fishermen.

Goti Pua:

Towards the end of the 16th century, the tradition of Goti Pua, or boy dancers gained popularity in Orissa. The goti puas are boy dancers who dress up as girls. They are the students of the akhadas, or gymnasia, established by Ramachandradeva in Puri, in the periphery of the temple. As they were offshoots of the akhada system, goti puas also came to be known as akhada pilas - boys attached to akhadas. The goti puas always dance in pairs. Goti puas are now part of professional teams, known as dals, each headed by a guru. A goti pua presentation is ably supported by a set of three musicians, who play the pakhawaj, the gini or cymbals and the harmonium. The boys do the singing themselves, though at times the group has an additional singer. The goti pua performance may include items like Panchadevta Puja, Bhumi Pranam and Battu. A goti pua performance usually commences with Bhumi Pranam (salutation to Mother Earth), and wraps up with Bidahi Sangeet, a farewell song and dance item. The whole performance lasts around three hours.

Jadur:

It is performed by the Bhoomiyas.

Magha:

It is performed by the Hos tribals of Chotta Nagpur.

Ranapa Dance:

It is performed with sticks by shepherds of Ganjham district.

Sambhalpuri:

This is performed by people of the Sambhalpur district of Orissa on various festive occasions.
 

Punjab

The major folk dance forms of Punjab are Bhangra, Dankara, Dhamal, Gatka, Gidda, Jaago, Jhummir (Jhumar), Julli, Luddi, Kikli and Saami.

Bhangra:

It is one of India's popular folk dances. Bhangra celebrates the harvest and is associated with the festival of Baisakhi. It is performed to the accompaniments and songs of the dholak. The costumes worn by the dancers are very colorful, depicting the spring season.

Dankara:

Dankara or the gaatka dance is a dance of celebration and forms part of wedding festivities. Two men, each holding colourful staves, dance round each other and tap their sticks together in rhythm with the drums.

Dhamal:

It is similar to Bhangra and is danced by men in a circle.

Gatka:

Martial art dance of the Nihang Sikhs.

Gidda:

It is the counterpart of the Bhangra and is danced by the womenfolk. The dancers enact verses called bolis, which represent folk poetry at its best. The dance is a group number, but often the individual dancers or pairs detach themselves from the group and perform while the rest keep clapping in rhythm.

Jaago:

This is performed at the time of marriages, where girls dance through the village streets carrying pots (gaggar) decorated with lightened candles and sing the jaagu songs. Jhummir (Jhumar): It is an old dialectical folk dance form of Punjab that originated in Baluchistan in Pakistan. After Partition, the dance faded away from the Indian Punjab, except in parts of Ferozepur district, where it is practised by some Rai Sikh migrants from Pakistan. Unlike the fast-paced and vigorous Bhangra, jhummir is a slower, more rhythmic dance and is usually performed by men. Dancers circle around the drummer, and keep up a soft, sibilant chorus as they dance. The dance is accompanied by the rhythm of dhol (drum) and bolian (songs).

Julli:

Jhulli is generally danced in the dargahs of the Muslim holy men called pirs. This dance is mostly performed in sitting posture, wearing black costumes.

Kikli:

This dance is performed by women in pairs. They cross their arms, hold each other�s hands and whirl around singing folk songs.

Luddi:

Luddi is a victory-dance having vigorous swaying movements of the head. Its costume is a simple loose shirt.

Sammi:

This dance is performed traditionally by women of the Sandalbar region, now in Pakistan. The dancers are dressed in bright coloured clothes and put a peculiar silver hair ornament.
 

Rajasthan

Rajasthan is famous for its vast variety of folk dances, which include Panihari, Gher (Gair), Tera Tali, Chari, Walar, Jhumar (Ghumar), Gangore, Gavri, Ginad, Khulan Leela and Khayaland Suisini. Various folk instruments and articles like pots topped with lighted lamps, sticks, shards of glass and swords are used in these dances. The folk dances of Rajasthan clearly show the colourful nature of this desert state. Certain dances are specific to certain tribes. For instance, the Bhils have a variety of dances like Ghumar dance, Raika and Jhoria; the Mina tribes have the Gher dance; the Garasias have the Valar dance while the Kamars performs the Tera Tali. Panihari is performed by women, who carry earthen pots during the performance.

Chakri Dance:

Chakri dance is performed by Kanjars scattered all over the state of Rajasthan. The Chakri dancers from Hadoti areas of Kota, Bundi and Baran districts are famous. Kanjar girls mostly perform Chakri dance during weddings or at the reception of the barats although they dance on many other occasions. The dancers whirl round and round in circles in flowering skirts. As a result, the dancers appear like spinning tops. The accompanying instruments that are used are called �Nagara'.

Chari Dance:

This is popular dance form in the Kishangarh region and involves dancing with a Chari, or pot, on one's head. A lighted lamp is then placed on the pot.

Drum Dance:

This is a professional dance-form from Jalore. Five men with huge drums around their necks, some with huge cymbals, accompany a dancer who holds a naked sword in his mouth and performs vigorously by twirling three painted sticks.

Fire Dance:

This is a desert dance is performed by the Jasnathis of Bikaner in which the Jasnathi men and boys jump on to the fire to the accompaniment of drum beats.

Gair:

Originally a dance of Southern Rajasthan, it is another Holi dance performed only by men. This becomes Dhandia Gair in Jodhpur and Greendad in Shekhwati.

Gair Ghumar:

This is typical of the Bhil tribals and is performed during the Holi festival together by men and women dressed in traditional costumes.

Ghumar:

This is basically a community dance for women and performed on auspicious occasions. This is a characteristic dance of the Bhils. Men and women sing alternately and move clockwise and anti-clockwise giving free and intended play to the ample folds of ghagra.

Kachi Ghodi:

This is a dance performed on dummy horses. Men in elaborate costumes ride well-decorated dummy horses, holding naked swords and dance to the rhythm of the beating of drums.

Tera Taali or Terahtal:

Tera Taali or Terathal is performed by the Kamar community of Pokhran and Deedwana in honour of their local deity, Baba Ramdeo. This dance is especially performed during the Ramdevra Festival, which is held in August of September at the small village of Ramdevra, near Pokaran in Western Rajasthan. It is a rather unusual performance where the men play a four-stringed instrument called a chau-tara and the women sit with dozens of manjeeras, or cymbals, tied on all over their bodies and strike them with the ones they hold in their hands.
 

Sikkim

Yak Chham:

It is a colourful tribal dance of Sikkim.
 

Tamil Nadu


Karakattam, Kummiattam, Kolattam, Pinnal kolattam and Poikkaalguthirai are important folk dance forms in Tamil Nadu.

Kargam:

It is the most common form of folk dance in Tamil Nadu. It is essentially part of a ritual and is performed by men balancing pots filled with uncooked rice, surrounded by a tall conical bamboo frame covered with flowers. The musical accompaniment comprises a drum and a long pipe.

Kolattam:

Here instead of clapping, the participants hold small wooden rods in their hands and strike these in rhythm as they dance.

Kummi:

In this dance, which is performed by the womenfolk of Tamil Nadu, the dancers gather in a circle and clap their hands as they dance.

Kuravanji:

It is performed by the wandering girls.

Poikkal Kuthirai:

This dance involves false-legged dummy horse.

Puli Vesham:

As part of the Muslim observance of Muharram, men disguised as tigers go about in the streets dancing what is known as Puli Vesham or Tiger Disguise.

Tripura

Lebang Bomani, Hajagiri and Maimita (harvest dance) are the important dance forms of Tripura. Hajagiri: This dance is performed by young girls.

Uttar Pradesh

Charkula:

It is a folk dance of Braj.

Chaunfla:

It is a seasonal dance of the Garhwal region.

Chhapeli:

This folk dance is performed at weddings by holding mirrors and handkerchiefs.

Chholiya:

It is a famous dance of the Kumaon region and is performed during marriages. As the procession proceeds to the bride's house, men dancers, armed with swords and shields, dance spiritedly. Dhurang (Dhuring) Dance: This dance is performed by the Doms and the Bhotiyas and is connected with the death ceremonies. Its objective is to liberate the soul of the dead person from evil spirits. Diwali & Pai Danda: These are folk dances of Bundelkhand. Hurka Baul: This dance is performed during paddy and maize cultivation in the Kumaon region. The name of the dance is derived from hurka, the drum, which constitutes the only musical accompaniment, and baul, the song.

Jhumeila:

It is another seasonal dance of the Garhwal region.

Kajri:

It is a peasant dance offered as thanks giving after a bumper crop.

Karan:

It is another harvest dance.

Nautanki:

It is a dance-drama.

Rai & Shaira:

These are folk dances of Bundelkhand.

Raslila:

This folk dance, which depicts the legends of Krishna, is typical of Mathura.
 

West Bengal


Brita or Vrita Dance: It is one of the most important traditional folk dances of Bengal. It is performed by the barren women of Bengal, as a mark of gratitude to the God after their wish of conceiving a child is fulfilled. Quite often, this dance is performed after recovery from contagious diseases.

Gaudiya Nritya:

Gaudiya Nritya is the revived form of a forgotten dance form of West Bengal. It was revived as a result of the efforts of Dr. Mohua Mukherjee. Hundreds of exquisite dancing figures, painstakingly carved in terracotta on the pillars and panels of the 17th century Hansheshwari temple situated in Bansberia in the Hoogly district of West Bengal, are responsible for reviving this classical dance form which had been lost and forgotten. 'Gaudiya Nritya' is characterized by soft, sensual and graceful movements, combined with bold ideas full of conviction and a sense of power. Gaudiya Nritya depends heavily on a blend of the folk - classical music tradition.

Kali Nach:

This is another dance performed during Gajan, in honour of the Goddess Kali. Here, the performer wears a mask, purified by mantras, and dances with a sword, and when worked up can make prophetic answers.

Rava Dance:

Rava dance is from the northern part of West Bengal. These dances are performed mainly by the Rava women. Their dances include Fai Nang Mein or Welcome Dance, Nak Chung Baini or the dances evocative of catching prawn, Baishar Bidan or New Year�s Dance and Larai Lunji or War Dance. Dances of Rava Community are colourful and rhythmic accompanied by melodious music. The themes include things connected with their daily lives and joys of various festivals.

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