A.) ANDHRA PRADESH
B.) MADHYA PRADESH
D.) HIMACHAL PRADESH
E.) JAMMU AND KASHMIR
1.) ANDHRA PRADESH:
ANDHRA PRADESH DANCES: back to top
Gurus were Kuchipudi Brahmins like Lakshmi Narayan Shastri and Chinta Krishna Murti who excelled in roles like Satyabhama in Bhamakalapam; later gurus include Vedantam Chinna Satyam. Today both group performances and solo performances are popular but experimentation are always being done with the choreography.
is a classical dance form that originated in the village of Kuchipudi, in Southern India. For a long time, the art was presented only at temples and that too only for annual festivals of certain temples in Andhra Pradesh. According to tradition, Kuchipudi dance was originally performed only by men and they all belonged to the Brahmin community. These Brahmin families were known popularly as Bhagavathaluof Kuchipudi. The very first group of Brahmain Bhagavathulu of Kuchipudi was formed in 1502 AD. Their programs were offerings to the deities and they never allowed women in their groups
Burrakatha is the new name (twentieth century) for the theatre known as Jangam Katha. The jangams were wandering siav worshippers.
Burra refers to the tambura, a musical instrument played by the main storyteller. The main performer narrates a story, plays music and dances to it. The co-performers plays drums and addresses him constantly and enrich certain events in the story with their short sentences.
A very old form of dance in the state of Andhra Pradesh that has a lot of religious significance attached to it; that is Veeranatyam. This fascinating kind of dance form is also known as Veerangam and Veerabhadra Nrityam. The term ‘Veera’ literally means brave. Thus as the name of the dance form suggests it is the dance of the brave.
The illustration of Veeranatyam is found in the Hindu Mythology. Once Lord Shiva’s wife, Sati Devi was humiliated at a function. This made the Shiva-the God of destruction, furious. Lord Shiva, outraged at the humiliation met by his consort, Lord Shiva picked out a relic out of His hair or ‘Jatajuta’, which created Veerabhadra. He is believed to have portrayed out His extreme anger by performing a vigorous dance; thus justifying the name Veeranatyam. It was the dance of ‘Pralayam’ or Destruction
The angry destructive Shiva or the ‘Pralayankar’ in the fiercity of rage tarnished the ‘Dakshayagna Vatika’ the place where the function was held.
The Veerabhadriya (Veeramusti community, changed its name recently from veeramusti to veerabhadriya) which claims to be the descendant of Veerabhadra, performs this vigorous dance with instruments like Tambura, Soolam, Dolu, Tasha and Veeranam usually at Draksharamam in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, which is believed to be Dakshavatika, the birth place of Veerabhadra
A typical folk dance form, popular in Tanuku of West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, Butta Bommalu which literally means basket toys are made of woodhusk, dry grass and cow dung. Each dancer wears a different mask over the head and shoulders enlarging the scope of the performer and dances to a nonverbal rhythm which adds colour to the movements.
Made of goatskin, a tambourine-like drum is beaten with sticks creating a rhythm that is softened only by the ankle bells that the 16 to 20 dancers wear. Part of a Telangana custom which sees the Dappu dancers at the front of any procession, whether it be for jataras, festivals or marriages, this is truly a celebration of the percussive powers of dance. This lively art form hails from Nizamabad District. The performers in colorful make-up and even more colorful costumes dance to the musical patterns set by cymbals, tabla and a harmonium. Mythologicalthemes are usually enacted and the audience are the rurals.
Popular in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram Districts, this is a devotional dance which invokes the Rain God with its vigour, rhythm and tempo. Also performed during festivals, the dance sees 15 to 20 vibrant artists with drums around their necks creating mesmerising beats and heartstopping acrobatics
Associated with daily tasks harvesting, planting, sowing etc., the Lambadi is performed by the Ganjaras, a seminomadic tribe seen all over Andhra Pradesh. Costumes embroidered with glass beads and mirrors, ornate jewellery, ivory bangles, brass anklets and a natural rhythm make this dance a colourful exposition of joy which is the highlight of many a festive occasion
The folk festival of Bonalu in the Telangana region brings with it celebrations which see the colourfully dressed female dancers balancing pots (Bonalu), step to the rhythmic beats and tunes in praise of the village deity Mahankali. Male dancers called Potharajus precede the female dancers to the temple lashing whips and neem leaves adding colour to the festivity.
Dhimsa dance is a dance of young and old, men and women of Valmiki, Bagata, Khond and Kotia tribes living in the enchanting Araku Valley in the hilly tracts of Vishakhapatam district. A monthly magazine is published by the name of Dhimsa in Telugu Link to http://www.dhimsa.net Tribals dance during the months of Chaitra i.e. March/April, on weddings and other festivities. During the festivals dancers of one village visit the other to participate in the dance and join the community feast. Such dances are known as “Sankidi Kelbar”. The unique feature of Dhimsa dance is that it chanalises friendship and fraternity between the people of different villages. This being traditionally a tribal dance, the women folk attired in typical tribal dress and ornaments dance in group to the tune of Mori, Kiridi, Tudumu, Dappu and Jodukommulu.
'Kollattam', or the stick dance, is one of the most popular dance narratives in Andhra Pradesh. It is also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu. A rural art usually performed during village festivals, kolattam is a combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music. It is known asDandia ras in Gujrat, Garbha in Rajasthan, etc.The Kolatam group comprises dancers in the range of 8 to 40. In kolattam, performed by 8 to 40 artists grouped in pairs, The stick provides the main rhythm. The artists led by the leader move into two circles, the inner circle receiving the strikes while the outer circle delivering them. Kolatam offers a great variety of entertainment to the spectators as well as the participants.
This is an open air performance usually enacted during Dasara or Moharrum in villages and during festivals in towns.The costume and makeup of the Puli Vesham is complicated. The body of the person who plays tiger is smeared with yellow paint with bold black stripes. The Puli Vesham is a dance performed by two, the hunter and the hunted. It is one of the most popular dance forms in Andhra Pradesh and variations are seen throughout South India. Both the Hindus and the Muslims participate in this performance with full zest and spirit.
The dance is supplemented with musical instruments. Two participants perform the dance. One plays the role of a tiger and the other of an archer. The dance usually starts with the 'tiger' jumping and marching to the rhythm of drum-beats. The entire atmosphere becomes hilarious with the children watching the fun with awe and fear and the elders with excitement and thrill.
The Perini Thandavam is an aesthetically performed male dance of the warriors. The warriors performed this powerful dance in front of the idol of Nataraja or Lord Shiva, before they left for the battlefield. The kings of the Kakatiya dynasty in Warangal patronized this form. The sculptures of the Ramappa Temple at Warangal throw considerable light on this delightful male dance form. This dance is performed to the accompaniment of the beat of the drums.Although the Perini dance form almost disappeared after the decline of the Kakatiya dynasty, the renaissance of the dance form was brought about by the doyen of Andhra Natyam, Nataraja Ramakrishna. In short, Perini Tandavam has both spiritual and artistic significance.
Andhra Natyam is a classical dance form the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a style that became extinct but was revived in the 20th century. It is derived from the general soup of south Indian dance forms. Therefore, it shows strong similarities to such forms as Kuchipudi, and Bharat Natyam, as well as the older forms of Dasi Attam, Kacheri Attam, Chinna Melam, and a host of others. This was a spiritual dance form. The dances performed in royal courts to the accompaniment of classical music were called Carnatakam. This was an intellectual art form. The other kind of dance form Darbari Aatam, appealed more to the commoners and educated them about their religion, culture and social life. These dances were performed outside the temple precincts in the courtyards. Each group had a coterie of dancers and those who resided in the temple premises did not go to the court of kings or zamindars to dance. The dance form of Andhra Natyam was initially known by different names - Kacheri Aatam, Kelika, Daasi Aatam, Chinna Melam, Nattuva Melam, Carnatakam and so on. Originally it was a temple dance performed by devadasis as a form of worship. In the days of yore, wherever there was a temple, there was some form of dance associated with the region. These dance forms were categorised into three kinds - Agama Nartanam, Carnatakam and Darbari Aatam. There are a number of unresolved questions concerning Andhra Natyam. Is it really a distinct dance form, or is it just another flavour of the Kuchipudi / Bharat Natyam tradition? How rigorous was the scholarship in its reconstruction? Can we assign an age that extends back further than its reconstruction? Is it even possible to reconstruct a tradition, especially in a near absence of reliable documentation? It is unfortunate that these questions are being answered according to political agendas, and not according to valid academic and artistic criteria.
The Chindu Bhagavatham dance is an alive dance form belonging to the Nizamabad district. The Chindu dancers wear colorful make-up along with even more colorful costumes. The instruments used for this dance form are cymbals, tabla & a harmonium.
The Tappetagullu is popular dance form of Srikakulam & Vizianagaram districts. This is a devotional dance form, performed in order to persuade the God of rain to bless the land with rainfall. The Tappetagullu is a prefect combination of vigor, rhythm and tempo.
FOCK DANCES OF ANDHRA PRADESH:
This is one of the popular dance forms from coastal regions of Andhra. Gobbi dance is the main attraction during the Samkranti festival. At this time, the courtyards of all houses are cleaned and decorated. For decoration purpose flowers are used with different kinds of rangavallis. Gobbillu i.e. balls of cow dung are placed in the middle of these rangavalli designs and worshipped with flowers, kumkum and turmeric in a ritualistic way. During evening time, young girls gather around this gobbillu to dance and sing. One can say, that this dance is a derived form of Garba dance performed in circular direction.
Burra Katha has a distinct form of heritage of story telling to the huge crowd. While story telling to strengthen the verbal idea Burra is used. Burra Katha named after the musical instrument "Burra", which is a modern form of ballad singing. It is believed that this dance is evolved from traditional Tandana Katha, this dance art preaches, entertains and provides relaxation to the rural folk.
Dhamal is one of the typical & ceremonial dance forms of Siddis of Hyderabad region. It is a mimetic martial dance performed by Siddis. They use swords and shields held in their hands while performing various steps involved in the dance. This dance is ceremonial in nature performed especially on the occasion of marriage. Many musical instruments are used to accompany and make noises of `how wow`.
The Mathuri dances are special tribal dances of the Mathuri tribes. These dances are performed during the rainy month of Shravana by the Mathuris living in Adilabad district of the Andhra.It is a dance in which men and women folk participate together, women participants forming the inner circle and men the outer semi-circle. The dancers sing themselves devotional and secular songs at the time of dance. The men strike the small sticks and the women clap to mark the time. It is said that the Mathuri dances have a close resemblance to Rasa-Lila of Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that the Mathuri tribe actually came from Mathura and therefore the dance is named accordingly.
The Gonds from the hilly region of northern Hyderabad district perform a stick dance, known as the Dandaria dance. The group of male dancers, dressed in colorful special costumes, visits to the nearby villages as a part of course of dance. When such visitors go at any place they are heartily welcomed by the host party. The guests and the hosts dance together in anti-clockwise direction. Even they have accompaniment of drums and trumpets and striking of sticks that are held in their hands. The musicians lead the procession. It is exclusively a male performance and the female roles are also performed by the young men, dressed as women and girls.
2.) MADHYA PRADESH
MADHYA PRADESH DANCES: back to top
Karma Dance is the main dance of Gond tribe and Oraon tribe that reside in the north western part of Madhya Pradesh. There are many forms of this dance that are performed by many traditional tribes throughout India. This show that, this might be the oldest tribal dance of Madhya Pradesh. The differences between various forms is in the music that accompanies these dances. Both men and women take part in the dance performance. The dance is generally performed during the start and the end of the rainy seasons. For some groups, the dance also symbolizes the start of spring, and they sometimes dance around a tree set up in the village.
There are many dances of the Muria Tribe that are a treat to eyes. The folks of the tribe get the basic training for these dances during Ghotul (a dormitory where teenage boys and girls mingle to gain knowledge and social ethics) itself. The main dances of the tribe are Har Endanna and Hulki. Har Endanna dance is performed during the marriage ceremonies. The dance has both boy and girl performers. Noteworthy thing of the dance is the movements of the drummers and the subtle changes they give to the drumming.
This dance belongs to the Abujmaria tribe in Bastar. The dance is performed to please the deity and acquire his blessings for a rich harvest. Both girls and boys take part in this dance. Boys wear a long white robe and girls are laden with jewelery and shimmering dress. The music to the dance is very soothing. Every performer is enthusiastically involved as they get the opportunity to choose a life partner in this dance. Their marriage is later held with the approval of the society.
Maria Gond Tribes --Marriage Dance:
The colourful Maria Gonds of Bastar celebrate almost every significant event in their lives by dancing. One of their most famous dance tradition is the spectacular marriage dance, the Gaur do catch a performance if you can.
The head dress that the Maria Gonds wear for the dance is made of bison horn, raw silk and feathers and is handed down from father to son. Like the American Indians, the Maria Gonds attach great importance to their head dress; a Maria may give a bullock in exchange for a good pair of horns. The traditional marriage ceremony of the Marias is simple - theres just the dance and the feast after it
Murias Tribes Drum Dance:
Their neighbours, the Murias, are known for their tradition drum dances called Mandri. It is mainly the dance of boys, who play the drum along with dancing. Sometimes girls also join them, though they appear grouped separately.
The dance movements and steps of the boys are often complicated, involving kneeling, jumping, gyrating and the like, but at no time is there a let-up in the playing of the drum
The Folk Theatre of MADHYA PRADESH:
The Maach of Madhya Pradesh is a folk theatre form presented largely through traditional song and dances. Men portray all the characters and the themes are generally historical or borrowed from folk legends about kings and warriors. There is not much of acting, as the theme unfolds mainly through song and dance. The singing is generally done by the dancers themselves, but there are supporting musicians too. The climax of the performance often shows the principal characters dancing in a cloud of coloured powder.
The dances are to some extent influenced by the folk dances of the neighbouring state of Rajasthan. The womens dances are full of swirls, with one hand holding the ghunghat (veil worn over the face) and the other poised on the waist
People of the Bundelkhand region perform this dance, to celebrate prosperity. Originally, a peasant dance, Jawara follows the reaping of a good harvest. Men and women, in colorful costumes, dance and revel together, synchronizing their movements to a variety of musical instruments. While dancing, the women also balance baskets, full of jawara, on their head. It is a wonder to notice the poise of the women, while they maintain brisk dance movements of Jawara.
Tertali is a folk dance of the Kamar tribe in Madhya Pradesh. Generally, two or three women of the tribe sit on the ground and initiate the dance performance. Small metal cymbals called 'Manjiras' are tied to different parts of their body. They also carry a cymbal in each hand and strike them in rhythm. The head remains covered with a veil. Gnashing a small sword between their teeth and balancing a pot on their heads, they vigorously follow the beat of the dance.
Lehangi is a popular folk dance of the Banjara and Kanjar tribe of the Bhopal commissary of Madhya Pradesh and is performed during the blossoming monsoon period. The Banjara tribe also performs this dance form during the festival of Rakhi. Young men hold sticks in their hands and rhythmically beat them while dancing. Various acrobatic tricks, incorporated into the dance, lend a dramatic touch to the performances.
Ahiri Dance is a trademark of the cattle herders of Gwalior. The dance also has religious overtones, as the various communities of Gwalior who perform this dance, are considered to be the descendants of Lord Krishna. People belonging to the Ahir, Gwala, Rawat, Raut and Baredi communities generally perform Ahiri. The Ahir community is the most avid follower of this dance form and they perform Ahiri on all the major cultural and religious occasions.
Baredi or Yadav Dance
Baredi is an important folk dance of the Gwalior district. Staring from Diwali, the dance is performed till the day of 'Karthik Purnima'. A host of musical instruments like dholak, jhanz, manjira, mridang and daphli imparts the tribal beat as the dancers perform and move around in circles. Folk songs are also sung that follows a question and answer format. The performers are clad in dhotis and accessorized with peacock feathers.
Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particulary performed to the enchanting beats of 'Dholak', an drum like instrument. This dance is performed by attractive women wearing nine-yard saris. The women gyrate on the pulsating beats of traditional music.
This particular dance form is performed by Dhangars or shepherds of Sholapur district of Maharashtra. The Dhangars earn their living by rearing sheep and goats. Their poetry is mainly inspired by the evergreen trees all around. The poetry is in a form called 'Ovi' which is made up of couplets. These poems also contain tales of the birth of their God "Biruba", in simple and basic lines.
Povadas are Marathi ballads, describing the events in the life of the great Maharashtrian leader, Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He holds a highly respected position in the hearts the people of Maharashtra. Through these ballads they remember Shivaji, a great hero of his time.
Kala is another folk dance form that describes the playful attitude of Lord Krishna. This dance form features a pot symbolizing fertility. The main attraction of this dance is the beat and the rhythm.
3.) KARNATAKAKARNATAKA DANCE: back to top
Kunitha - A ritual dance
The ritualistic dances of Karnataka are known as "Kunitha". One such dance is the Dollu Kunitha - a popular dance form of Karnataka, accompanied by the beats of decorated drums and has singing. This dance form is mainly performed by the men of the shepherd community known as the Kurubacommunity. The Dollu Kunitha is characterized by vigorous drum beats, quick movements and synchronized group formations.
This is a group dance that is named after the Dollu - the percussion instrument used in the dance. It is performed by the menfolk of the Kuruba community of the North Karnataka area. The group consists of 16 dancers who each wear the drum and beat it to different rhythms while also dancing. The beat is controlled and directed by a leader with cymbals, positioned in the center. Slow and fast rhythms alternate and group weaves
The costumes are simple. The upper part of the body is usually left bare while the a black sheet-rug is tied on the lower body over the `dhooti' or sarong.
"Huttari Dance" and "Bolak-aat" are dance forms of Kodagu. The Kodavas are a unique martial race, different in customs, traditions and religion from the surrounding populace. This is the annual harvest dance of the Kodavas. The men, dressed in traditional Kodava costumes with the decorative knife, perform this slow moving dance to background music. This dance has different varieties:
This is performed by the Kodava men in front of an oil lamp in an open field. The men hold the chavari(Yak fur) in one hand and the Kodava short sword "Odi-kathi" in the other while performing this dance. Many regional variations of this dance exist. Sometimes performers dance only with the chavari without the use of the short sword. When the "Odi-kathi" is also used, it is called kattiyaata. The dudi, an hourglass shaped drum is used to provide the rhythm for the dance.
This is performed by the Kodava womenfolk. The women wear the traditional Kodava dress complete with jewelry, adorn the forehead withkumkuma and in a swinging rhythm, dance in a circle, brass cymbals in hand. One woman stands at the center holding a pot full of water to represent Kaveri taayi or Mother Kaveri, which the Kodavas worship as their prime deity.
While the Bolaak-aat and the Ummattat are of a celebratory and festive nature, the Kombat is a dance performed with religious sentiments. It is traditionally performed in temple premises, but, in recent years, it is also performed in other places. This is a dance performed by the Kodava men and deer horns are used as a prop, representing the horns of the Krishnamruga, a spotted deer in Kodava legend.
Beesu kamsaLe or kamsaLe nritya(dance)
This is a group dance form performed by the menfolk in villages in the Mysore, Nanjanagudu, Kollegala and Bangalore areas. It is named after the Kamsale that is used both as an instrument and also as a prop by the dancers themselves. The kamsale comprises a cymbal in one hand and a bronze disc in the other and is used to produce a rhythmic clang.
Somana kunita or the 'Mask dance' is a celebratory form of spirit worship prevalent in south Karnataka region. It is performed mostly in village shrines dedicated to the Mother Goddess. The art is mostly practised by the Gangemata community. The dance is characterised by the dancers wearing elaborate masks painted in different colours. The colour of the mask is also indicative of the nature of the deity. A benevolent deity is represented by a red mask while a yellow or black mask suggests the opposite. There are many types of somas or masks, which differ from region to region
Arts of North Karnataka
This is a folk art of the Hubballi Dharwad region, particularly of the 'Byahatti' village. It is performed on occasions such asYugadi and holi. Jagghalige is essentially a percussion instrument made of a bullock cart wheel with buffalo hides wrapped around. The village folk roll out the giant instruments and march in procession. The entire performance is directed by a chief choreographer who himself uses a much smaller percussion instrument called the kanihaligi, made of clay and covered with calf hide. The performance usually involves a group of about 15 people.
This is a popular folk orchestra of the north Karnataka region. It is performed during various auspicious occasions and in processions. TheKaradi or Karade is the percussion instrument that is used in the orchestra. It is a palm sized cymbal that produces metallic sounds, while the Shehnai is used to produce the melody.
Krishna Parijatha is a popular folk theater art form of North Karnataka. It is an amalgamation of Yakshagana and Bayalata, portraying stories or incidents from the great epic Mahabharata.
Gondaligara Ata (Narrative performing art of North Karnataka)
Somana Kunita is a distinctive dance characterized by excellent rythmatic steps to the beats of Are Vadya and Donu with Mauri. Somana Kunita is prevalent in districts of Hassan, Tumkur and Bangalore, and also in Chikkamagalur and Mandya. Though Somas are identified as 'Angarakshakas' of Grama Devathe' [lieutinants of Village deities], clear-cut distinctions are difficult as in some situations, while performing ritual dance and rituals, it goes as representative of village deities. Soma literally means Chandra [Moon].
Arts of Malenadu
This dance form is widely performed in the coastal areas of Karnataka. The Bhootha Aradhane or Holy Spirit (Shiva Gana's) worship, includes a procession of idols depicting 'bhoothas". This procession is characterized by the beating of drums and bursting of firecrackers. After the end of the procession, the idols are placed on a plinth. Then, a dancer personifying a Bhoota (Holy Spirit) dances around the plinth with sword and jingling bells. The dancer dances vigorously at one point of time and then slows down, signifying that he is now a divine person.
Yakshagana is a dance drama performed in the coastal areas of Karnataka. This unique dance form is a perfect blend of dance, music, songs, scholarly dialogues and colorful costumes. Yakshagana mesmerizes each and everyone in the audience with its enchanting music and colorful performances.
The word Yakshagana literally means celestial music. This dance drama is also performed throughout the night, usually after the winter crop has been reaped.
Hagalu Veeshagaararu (Day Actor's)
Hagalu veshagaararu are a group of itinerant actors of Karntaka. Some populations of these artists are native to Andhra Pradesh also.
These artists are masters of the art of miming and their performances are extempore. No formal stage or facility is used. The artists move from place to place and pitch tents in places where they offer to perform their show.
Gorava Dance (Goravara kunita)
This is a folk dance of Goravas or the Shiva cult that is popular in both Mysore and North Karnataka regions. While in North Karnataka, the Goravas worship Mylara linga as their deity, in Mysore region, they worship Mudukutore mallikarjuna. they hail from the Halumatha Kuruba Gowda community.
This ritualistic dance form is performed by the people of south Karnataka. It is done to tranquilize the serpent spirit and is an extravagant affair held throughout the night. The dancers called the Vaidyas are dressed as nagakannika. They dance all night long around a huge figure, drawn on the sacred ground with natural colors, in a pandal specially erected in front of the shrine. This ritualistic dance is generally performed between December to April.
The karaga itself is a metal pot, on which stands a tall floral pyramid that is balanced on the carrier's head. The contents of the pot have remained a secret down the centuries. The carrier's arrival is heralded by hundreds of bare-chested, dhoti-clad, turbaned Veerakumaras bearing unsheathed swords. Tradition has it that this frenzied procession of Veerakumaras accompanying the karaga carrier can execute him should he stumble and let the karaga fall. This is performed by Tigala community people.
Gaarudi Gombe is manju a folk dance prevalent in the state of Karnataka, India. Dancers adorn themselves with giant doll-suits made ofbamboo sticks. The term Gaarudi-Gombe means magical-doll in the native language, Kannada. This dance is performed during major festivals and also in the procession held during the festivities of Mysore Dasara. This dance is also known as Tattiraya in the coastal districts ofKarnataka. The term Tattiraya means a person carrying a doll made of bamboo sticks
The Joodu Haligi is essentially a performance using two percussion instruments. The Haligi is circular in shape and is made of buffalo hide. The artists use a short stick to produce rhythms of exceptional energy and power. This is also accompanied by rhythmic movements and exaggerated expressions in sync with the high energy rhythms produced. Usually 2-3 artists are involved in the performance.
Togalu Gombeyaata is a puppet show unique to the state of Karnataka, India. Togalu Gombeyaata translates to a play of leather dolls in the native language of Kannada. It is a form of shadow puppetry. Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat has undertaken research on this art and has a good collection of leather puppets.
Veeragase is a dance form prevalent in the state of Karnataka, India. It is a vigorous dance based on Hindu mythology and involves very intense energy-sapping dance movements. Veeragase is one of the dances demonstrated in the Dasara procession held in Mysore. This dance is performed during festivals and mainly in the Hindu months of Shravana and Karthika
4.) Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh Dances: back to top
Himachali dance forms are highly varied and quite complicated. These dances are very vital part of the tribal life. It reflects the culture and the tradition of Himachal. Hardly any festivity here is celebrated without dancing. Some of the dance forms like Dulshol, Dharveshi, Drodi, Dev Naritya, Rakshas Nritya, Dangi, Lasa, Nati , Nagas etc., are danced all over the region
The Male (garland) dance:
The Kayang Mala dance is one of the most popular dance in Himachal. In this, the dancers are dressed in their traditional finery, weave their arms together to form a sort of a criss cross pattern in order to appear like beads in a woven garland. They drink chhang (a rice brew) before this dance.
The Demon (Rakshasa dance) :
This dance form, from the Kinnaur and nearby areas are redolent of the historic period. The Kinnaur folk are being compared to deers. The dance form is performed with demon masks. It represents the attack of the demons on the crops and their ritual pursuing away by the forces of good. Chhambha is more or less same to the Punjabi dance Bhangra. These dance forms are generally organised in areas having dense population. During their local festivals like Chaitol and Bishu, such a type of community dancing can be witnessed. In this dance form men and women hold hands and dance. Their leader is known as Ghure and others follow in his footsteps
Dalshone and Cholamba dances.
The following dance forms belong to the Ropa valley and in these dances the pattern formed by the dancers seems to be as coiled serpents. The Cholamba dance is generally performed when a tiger is killed. The dead animal's skin is stuffed and a gold ornament is put in his nose. The remains of the dead is then rotated and people dance around it.
Shan and Shabu dances.
These are 2 most popular dances of the Lahaul valley and are generally danced at the Buddhist Gompas in the memory of the Buddha. Shan means a prayer for the Buddha. Dances danced to these prayers are termed as Shan dances. This is a tribal dance which is performed after the completion of the harvesting of crops. Some of the instruments played in this are drums, shehnai and a stringed instrument like a violin.
A similar dance form known as Shabbo is also performed at festivals. It represents the beliefs and lifestyle of the tribal people of the region. These dance forms are linked to the local festivals
Keekali and Bhangra
The Keekali dance form is a dance of young girls. The girls hold each others hand crosswise and rotate swiftly on their toes.
The Bhangra is a male dance which was originated in the Punjab and is quite popular in Kangra, Hamirpur and
The tribal dance
forms of the trans Himalayan region differs a lot in content and music. The old tradition of both song and dance in these regions has been enthusiastically guarded against urban influence. Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Tehsils of Pangi and Bharmour of Chambaconstitute this zone. The inhabitants in these regions are known as Kinnauras, Lahaulas, Spitians, Pangwals and Gaddis. Gujjars and many of these tribes have their own distinct traditions of folk dances, songs, dresses and ornaments.
Losar Shona Chuksam : The Losar Shona Chuksam (Losar is the Tibetan New Year) is an agricultural festival dance performed by the Kinnauris in which the movements depict all activities from sowing to reaping ogla (barley) and phaphar (a local grain).
The dance also includes innovative pieces like mime. Another dance, the Namagen, celebrates autumn. The dancers themselves sing while musicians play the instruments. The drum is the very life of these folk dances.
Dangi : The Dangi is a lively women’s dance of the Chhatrari village in Chamba. The song is like a question-answer session between the two dancing groups. Themes vary: the conversation could be between a king and a poor girl with whom he is in love or between a trader and his customers.
The dance begins with a slow tempo but gathers momentum as the dancers begin to spin.
Another women’s dance is the Sikri, performed during the Suhi Fair held in spring. The accompanying song tells of the beauty of flowers and the season, especially the flowering of the Marua flower.
Gee Dance :
The Gee dance of Sirmaur is performed during the festival of Lohri. Singers stand in a curve with instrumentalists while individual dancers (boys or girls) rise one by one to dance to the music.
A peculiar custom related to this dance is that only girls born in the village it is being performed in can partcipate in it. Brides who may have come from other villages cannot dance it in their husband’s village.
They can dance the gee only in their parental village. The Rasa, another dance from Sirmaur, has a carefully thought-out pattern and lasts for a long time.
The dancers form chains (pindi-bandhas) or concentric circles and the songs (mostly love stories) are in a question-answer form.
A host of musicians accompany the singers, and you might sometimes find the male dancers brandishing dangras (axes).
Burah Dance : Men flourish their dangras (axes) in big open movements in the Burah dance which is definitely a macho martial dance. Ballads telling of battles and legendary heroes are sung to the beat of the hulki (an hourglass-shaped drum).
The Kariyala is a dance drama, more like a theatrical performance by professional artistes, while the Thoda is a dance of archery.
The Naati of Kullu is an all time favourite with the people. Dancers link their hands and move in step to varying rhythms (there are 13 styles in all).
Traditionally danced by men (wearing swirling tunics, churidaars, sashes and decorated caps) for hours on end, it has now been modified so that women can participate in it too.
Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar :
The dances of Kullu have always been open to new themes and forms due to foreign influences. Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar are martial dances of men. These are danced with swords and heralds, sometimes in a circle in a fast tempo. The songs are contemporary and the theme patriotic. The Ludi Banthde was originally a love song (of rajas perhaps) but has been substituted by happenings of today. Others like Dhili Pheti and Bashari performed in village melas (fairs) are pure joyous events where both men and women participate.
Shunto: The Shunto is danced by men to a song is in praise of Buddha. The Shaboo is danced on festive occasions while Gafila is a dance for couples. The dance Dodra Kawar mainly revolves around agriculture. The Singhi or snow lion is a Buddhist dance performed to ensure peace and prosperity.
Losar Shona Chuksam (Dances in Kinnaur)
This dance is very popular among Kinnaurs. It is an agricultural festival dance performed by the Kinnauris in which the actions show all activities from sowing to reaping ogla (barley) and phaphar (a local grain). The dance also offers innovative pieces like mime are a part of this dance.
The Namagen dance is performed in September to celebrate the autumnal hues. The costumes are largely woolen and richly studded ornaments of silver are worn by women. The most picturesque amongst these are dances of Gaddis. All regions of Himachal Pradesh have their own dances. Mostly men and women dance together, close to each other in the formation. />
We Conduct events and programs like Classical dance, Folk dance, Semi Classical dance, Orchestra, Marriage songs, Old Melody and Devotionals Song performances.