Dumhal is a dance performed by the men folk of the Wattal tribe of Kashmir on specific occasions. The performers wear long colorful robes, tall conical caps that are studded with beads and shells. The party moves in a procession carrying a banner in a very ceremonial fashion. It is dug into the ground and the men begin to dance, forming a circle. The musical accompaniment comprises a drum and the vocal singing of the participants. Dumhal is performed on set occasions and at set locations.
Lava is the colorful dance of the Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep in which dancers wear multi-hued costumes, a headgear and carries a special drum. The dance movements are prolific and profuse and are in rhythm with the drum beats and vocal accompaniment.
The Kamar tribe performs the Tera Tali, which is an elaborate ritual with many elements of dance. It is generally performed by two or three women who sit on the ground. Manjiras, or small metal cymbals are tied to different parts of the body, mostly the legs, and with a cymbal in either hand the dancer strikes these in rhythm. The head is covered with a veil, and at times a small sword is clenched between the teeth and an ornamental pot balanced on the head.
This dance is performed in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh- the land of Krishna and his consort - Radha. Veiled women balancing large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramids on their heads, alight with 108 oil lamps, dance to the strains of 'rasiya' - songs of Krishna. Charkula is especially performed on the third day after Holi - the day, which Radha was born. According to legend, Radha's grandmother ran out of the house with the charkula on her head to announce the birth of Radha, since then, Charkula has formed a popular dance form of Brajbhoomi, performed during various festivities.
The Jawara is performed in the Bundelkhand area of Madhya Pradesh. It is essentially a harvest dance-reflecting the gaiety and pleasure of the peasants who have reaped a good harvest. The dance is performed by men and women together. The costumes and jewellery worn by the women are colorful. The women carry baskets full of jawara on their heads and although the dance is very vigorous they are able to balance these baskets very skillfully on their heads. The accompaniment includes a rich variety of percussion, stringed and wind instruments.
The tableland of Malwa has comparatively very few dances. On wedding occasions, the countryside women of this part perform the 'Matki' dance with an earthen pot balanced on the head, the Matki is mostly danced solo. Sometimes just for merriment a couple of women join the main dancer who usually dances with a veil on her face. The two other variations of the Matki are the Aada and Khada Nach.
The Phulpati is another dance, exclusively for unmarried girls. It is a dance of the semi-rural womenfolk. The agriculturist class of Malwa is not very much inclined to any dance by nature. During the Holi festival the revelers cannot restrain themselves from coming out with some sort of dance movements to the uneven manipulation of drums.
When rabi crops sway in the fields in full bloom, the parties from different villages join together and perform the Grida dance. It continues from morning till evening. The host village returns the visit next year by going to the village of their guests of the preceding year. The dance has three distinct phases: (1) Sela - The feet movements are slow and comparatively rigid. (2) Selalarki - The feet movements become brisker and faster. (3) Selabhadoni - With the acceleration of the tempo, every limb of the body begins to sway in mood of exaltation.
Maanch is a lyrical folk drama and a form of operatic ballet that is very popular in Malwa in Madhya Pradesh. "Maanch" means the stage or place of performance and as an indigenous & distinct folk-form. The presentation style & technique of the Maanch, its various thematic elements, & suitable music and gaudy costumes all contribute in making this play a unique one.
Gaur Maria Dance
Gaur Maria dance is one of the important dances of Bison Horn Marias of Abhujmaria plateau of Bastar in Madhya Pradesh. This is a very beautiful and joyful dance and is basically performed as an invocation on the occasion of marriages.
In the hilly regions of the north west, the Kokna tribal dance to the accompaniment of the tarpha or pavri, a wind instrument made of dried gourd. Because of this, the dance is known as Tarpha Nach or Pavri Nach. The performers hold each other by the waist and dance in close formation. Men also dance separately, and this includes feats of skill, like forming a pyramid or rapidly revolving a dancer round a stout pole.
Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument. Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm and erotic sentiment. Lavani has contributed substantially to the development of Marathi folk theatre. In Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh, it is performed by the female performers wearing nine-yard long saris. The songs are sung in a quick tempo.
Thang Ta (The Art of the Sword and Spear) is the martial art form exclusive to Manipur, where Thang means sword and Ta means spear. In this amazing display of the traditional art of warfare, performers leap and attack each other and defend themselves. Encouraged by the kings of the earlier times, Thang Ta is an ingenious display of skill and creativity. The art has a ritualistic aspect with some movements of sword intended to ward off evil spirits, while other postures indicating protection. All the dance forms of Meiti people are believed to have originated from Thang Ta.
The drum, by itself, enjoys a privilege in the dances of Manipur. There are several kinds of drums, each intended for a particular occasion. The festival of Holi, in spring, is the real time for drum dances, such as Dhol Cholom. Lai haraoba dance is also a major folk dance of manipur.