Folk dance in India From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Folk dance in India

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Hojagiri is a reflection of the age-old culture and the unique style of dance of the Reang community of Tripura. Only lower half of the body is moved to create rhythmic movements. Dancers performing unusually amazing acrobatic feats is the main highlight of the dance. Reang girls twist and turn and dance in time to the compelling rhythm, sometimes dancing on an earthen pitcher or balancing a bottle on the head with a lighted lamp on top of it.

West Bengal


The folk dance/theater of Gambhira originated among the Hindu community of Maldah in West Bengal. After Partition of India, Chapai Nawabganj in Rajshahi became the main center of Gambhira. With time, Gambhira has undergone many changes in terms of theme and style of its presentation. Muslims also became the custodian of the dance, and thereby it became an integral part of their culture. May be for that reason the dancer now wears the Lungi. Gambhira comprises a few characters with dialogues in an atmosphere of music, its themes now being contemporary social problems, fakeness and selfishness of people and so on.


The main story of this Bengali dance form is 'how Shiva calms down angry Kali after killing Asura. It is more prevalent in Howrah. Before the coronation of Shiva on Neelpuja Day (Chaitra Sankranti), the performance of this dance is a must. The green leaves of water hyacinth is used to make the hair of Kali and the black ash of Ganja to decorate the body. Clay mask is used for Mahadeva. Palm leaves reddened with Alta is used as the tongue of Kali. Participants go on fast for the whole day. The dance is being performed for nearly five-hundred years.


Female performers who sing and dance professionally in rural areas, accompanied by male ḍhulkī and nagarā drummers.


Alkap is a rural performance, popular in many places of Bengal, especially in Rajshahi, Maldah and Murshidabad districts, and the Rajmahal Hills in the state of Jharkhand. This is associated with the Gajan Festival of Shiva around the middle of April. The beginning of this form was in the late nineteenth century. It has no written script, but scenarios based on popular love stories, which the actors elaborate with extreme dialogues, breaking up for songs, dances and comic or satirical sketches called Kap. It is a composite performance comprising acting, dancing, singing and recitation. Each Alkap group consists of ten to twelve dancers, under the leadership of a 'Sorkar' or 'Guru'. The group includes two or three 'Chhokras', one or two lead singers called 'Gayen' or 'Gayok'. Also, there remain 'Dohars', the chorus called 'Gayokdol' and instrumentalists called 'Bajnadars'. Alkap performances take place at night on an open stage.


Domni belongs to Maldah in West Bengal. A Domni performance starts with a Vandana dedicated to God. Then the 'Mool Gayen' (Lead Character/Protagonist) and 'Chhokras' (Supporting Characters) offer devotional prayers. The dance performances of the Chhokras are called 'Nachari' or 'Lachari'. The main characters are the roles of husbands, wives, mothers, greedy moneylenders, peasant- girls and so on. The plays are composed taking extracts from small events of everyday life and are presented in a satirical manner. The musical instruments are Harmonium, Dholak, Kartal, Flute and so on. Domni groups are found in Maldah. With change on social life and popular taste/culture, this folk form is becoming extinct.


Ghoomar (Rajasthan, Haryana)

Women dressed in multi-hued skirts swirl gracefully in a circle during this lively dance. Ghoomar is performed by young women and girls during various festivities like Holi, Gangaur Puja, Teej, etc. In Rajasthan, Ghoomar is performed to the songs of valor and victory. In Haryana, the songs sung for Ghoomar are high-pitched and rich in humor and satire

Koli (Maharashtra and Goa)

The dance derives its name from the fisher folk of western Maharashtra and Goa - Kolis, who are noted for their distinct identity and lively dances. Their dances incorporate elements they are most familiar with - the sea and their occupation of fishing. The dance is performed by both men and women - divided into two groups. The smaller group of men and women, in pairs, enact the main story of the dance - where the Kolin or fisherwoman makes advances to the Koli or fisherman. The larger group, also in pairs, forms the backdrop for the story, dancing in a looped movement that depicts the rowing of a fishing boat on undulating waves. Especially most of the dances and celebrations are devoted to "Sea God" for a better catch and protection.

Padayani (Kerala)

Padayani or Padeni in colloquial speech is one of the most colorful and spectacular folk arts associated with the festivals of certain temples in southern Kerala (Aleppey, Quilon, Pathanamthitta, and Kottayam districts). The word Padayani literally means military formations or rows of army, but in this folk art we have mainly a series of divine and semi-divine impersonations wearing huge masks or kolams of different shapes, colors and designs painted on the stalks of areca nut fronds. The most important of the kolams usually presented in a Padayani performance are Bhairavi (Kali), Kalan (god of death), Yakshi (fairy), Pakshi (bird) etc. The Kolam consists primarily of a huge headgear with many projections and devices with a mask for the face or a chest piece to cover the breast and abdomen of the performer. The whole performance consisting of the dancers or actors who wear the kolams, the singers who recite a different poem for each Kolam, and the instrumentalists who evoke wild and loud rhythm on their simple drum called Thappu and Cymbals, etc., takes the form of a procession of Kali and her spirits returning after the killing of the Asura chief Darika.

North India


Kathak (Hindi: कथक, Urdu: کتھک) is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from northern India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or story tellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories. The structure of a conventional Kathak performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax. A short danced composition is known as a tukra, a longer one as a toda. There are also compositions consisting solely of footwork. Often the performer will engage in rhythmic 'play' with the time-cycle, splitting it into triplets or quintuplets for example, which will be marked out on the footwork, so that it is in counterpoint to the rhythm on the percussion. All compositions are performed so that the final step and beat of the composition lands on the 'sam' or first beat of the time-cycle. Most compositions also have 'bols' (rhythmic words) which serve both as mnemonics to the composition and whose recitation also forms an integral part of the performance. Some compositions are aurally very interesting when presented this way. The bols can be borrowed from tabla (e.g. dha, ge, na, tirakiTa) or can be a dance variety (ta, thei, tat, ta ta, tigda, digdig and so on).








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 [= "=Dandiya / Dandiya Sticks"]. =Indian Wedding.

 [= "=Dandia Dhamaka Website"].

 [= "=Raas Chaos Website"].

 [= "=Competitions"]. =DesiDanceTeams.

 [1]

 "Poikkal Kuthirai Aatam - Tamilnadu". 11 December 2012.

 "Bommalattam Tamilnadu". 28 November 2012.

"Therukoothu". 16 February 2013.

External links

  • Gujarat's popular Sanedo dance in video and mp3 online at DeshGujarat.Com

  • Gujarati tribal's wedding night folk dance from Dahod(Video) on DeshGujarat.Com

  • Gotipua Dance from Raghurajpur Village-Puri-Orissa on

  • Odissi dance Jewelry

  • Odissi at the Open Directory

  • Yahoo Discussion Group dedicated to Odissi

  • Dancer Profiles

  • Indian Performing Arts Promotions a proponent of Odissi

  • Classical Indian dance portal

  • Mahari and Gotipua tradition

  • History of Odissi

  • Costume of Odissi dance

  • Odissi music

  • Historical evidences on Odissi

  • Gotipua Dance Gurukul

  • Odissi dance dress

  • Famous Odissi Dancers

  • Odissi & Sambulpuri Folk Performing Dancers in USA

Dance in India


  • Bharatanatyam

  • Kathak

  • Kathakali

  • Kuchipudi

  • Manipuri

  • Mohiniyattam

  • Odissi

  • Sattriya

  • Yakshagana

Divine forms

  • Nataraja

  • Tandava

  • Rasa lila

  • Lasya


  • Bihu

  • Bhangra

  • Chhau

  • Giddha

  • Garba

  • Dandiya Raas

  • Ghoomar

  • Ghumura

  • Karma

  • Sword dance

  • Dollu Kunitha


  • Bollywood song and dance

  • Hindi dance songs

  • Nautch


  • Natya Shastra

  • Abhinavabharati

  • Mudras

By state

  • Andhra Pradesh

  • Assam

  • Himachal Pradesh

  • Odisha

  • Punjab

  • Tamil Nadu


  • Ghungroo

Folk Dance of India/RNK Page

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