Folk Dances of Rajasthan

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Rajasthan is the land where heroism and chivalry impersonate in the form of Rajput warriors and their brave queens who had the courage to sacrifice themselves rather than falling into the hands of the invaders. Rajasthan is not only known for its battles and valor stories but also for its beautiful architecture, sand dunes, camels, folk art, folk dance forms and exotic cuisine.

bhawai-folk-dance-rajasthanThe one which we are going to talk about is Rajasthan’s exquisite folk dance forms which are quite famous pan-India and have gained international recognition also. Tourists from various cities of India as well as from overseas come down to Rajasthan to sway with the mesmerizing dance forms accompanying vernacular vocals and music.
The dances of Rajasthan are a manifestation of a rich cultural enigma of the proud history of the state. Enlisted below are some of the major dance forms for which Rajasthan is peculiarly known for:

Bhavai Dance:

The male musician playing the background music and beautifully adorned Bhavai artists dancing on melodious beats is what a usual sight of this dance form is. An ear-pleasing Rajasthani folk song is sung adding to the beauty of this dance. Many instruments like pakhwaja, dholak, jhanjhar, sarangi, and harmonium are also played which gives the performance the added charisma.

Chakri Dance:

Clothes and music are the main attractions as well as the main elements of this dance form. The clothes are so worn that when the dancers perform it looks like a circular thing is dancing, justifying the name of the dance.
As music being an essential part of this dance that’s why the Chakri Dancers are accompanied by a group of adroit traditional singers who sing as the women start the dance. Dholak and Nagara are the main instruments used in the Chakri Dance.

Chari Dance:

Chari dance is one of the most popular folk dances in Rajasthan, performed by women of Gujjar community of Kishangarh. This dance depicts the art of collecting water in a chari (earthen pot) by these women in their daily routine.
Dressed traditionally in colorful Rajasthani dresses, Gujjar Women perform the Chari dance on the beats of Rajasthani instruments like dhol, dholak, nagada etc which becomes one of the reasons for the attraction towards this dance. The dancers wear big nose rings and headgears made of khol (define) of coconut.

Gawri Dance:

Gawari dance of Rajasthan is a tribal dance of the famous Bhil tribe. They move from places to places to perform this dance which is a type of a dramatical dance. Among the main characters of Gawari dance are Rai Buriya Shiva, his two ‘Rais’, and ‘Katkuria’, the comic handyman. Between the enactments of various episodes, the entire troupe dances around a central spot consecrated to a deity.

Ghumar Dance:

Often performed exclusively for ladies gathering, Ghumar is particularly a women’s dance. It was initially developed by the Bhil tribal community of Rajasthan but later adopted by various others as well.Known for its enthusiastic and traditional touch; Ghumar has not only build its name in India but also has gained international recognition and applaud.
This spectacular folk dance has derived its name from ‘ghoomna’ which means circling. Fascination starts when colors of the flowing ‘ghaghara’ (the long skirts) of the women dancers start to flow. Filled with oodles of grace, the skirt flair sways while the women twirl in circles, their faces covered with a veil.

Kalbelia Dance:

This dance form derives its name from the tribe “Kalbelia” of Rajasthan. The dance is also performed by this tribe mainly. The popularity of this dance is so much that it has been recognized worldwide and is now in UNESCO’s representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since the year 2010. In Kalbelia dance, males play various traditional instruments and females perform the dance. The main traditional instruments used are the “Poongi” also called “Been”. Other than these two, Dufli, Morchang, Dholak, Khanjari, and Khuralio are also used.

Kathputli Dance:

Bright colored beautiful clothes, sharp features, squeaking voices and quirky moves on the nimble fingers of the puppeteer is what a “Kathputli” is. A wooden structure deriving its name from two different words of Hindi- ‘Kath’ meaning wood and ‘Putli’ meaning doll caters a large audience who love to see them dance.
Kathputli dance is one of the major attractions of the Rajasthani culture. It’s believed that “Putli Bhats” discovered this art form to entertain people in exchange for cash. The Maharajas of Rajasthan are known to have a great affinity towards this dance form and hence it flourished in those times.
Embellished with jewelry and other accessories, these puppets are attached to strings. Generally made out of mango wood, kathputlis are stuffed with cotton and have ravishing make-up especially having large elongated eyes. Kathputli dance revolves around a story.

Terah Taali Dance:

Terah Taali is a dance form which is performed by skilled artists; these are the Kamada Tribes who are traditional snake charmers. This intricate dance form comprises of tying thirteen little brass discs known as “Manjeeras” to various parts of their bodies which they strike with the ones they hold in their hands. This creates a rhythm on which the dancers perform.
Terah Taali is one of the most complex as well as the eye-pleasing folk dance of Rajasthan. Often swords in the mouths and pot on the heads are also balanced to create more magnificence in the dance form.

Rajasthan has different hues of its culture, a fascinating facet of which is its energetic and graceful dance forms. Various communities and their versatile dance forms depicting romance, valor, masculinity as well as sophistication leave the onlooker mesmerized. Every dance form is a unique blend of a specific tribe or religion and is different with respect to its structure, style, and art form that can be seen in their costumes, pattern of dancing, make-up, jewelry and musical instruments. The Rajasthani vibrancy and splendid grandeur is an adjunct to some of the most priceless folk dance forms.

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