Rajasthan has numerous dance forms which are attractive, skillful and enjoyable by any age group. Amongst different dances, Kalbelia and Ghoomar have gained international recognition thus attracting a large number of tourists. Rajasthani folk dances were initiated by the different tribes and used to entertain kings in olden days. From dance style to the dance costumes, every single segment of Rajasthani dance pours the pure and rich heart of a typically Rajasthani person. The attitude of the dancers signifies their love and commitment with their culture and rituals.
Varieties of dance forms are famous and performed in various cities of Rajasthan. Some of them are:
It is the traditional and an enthusiastic folk dance of the state of Rajasthan. Ghoomar is performed on the festive occasions and considered as one of the major rituals in the marriages. Basically developed by the Bhil tribe, it’s a dance performed by the groups of women moving in circular motion. This dance form is generally performed during grand festivals like Gangaur and Teej. The dance got its name from the word “ghoomna”, the elegant rotation which displays the remarkable colors of the flowing Ghaghra of the performers. The women carry earthen pots and dance with smooth hand and feet movements. In Rajasthan, Ghoomar is performed to the songs of victory and courage.
A captivating dance performed by women while sitting, The ‘Terahtali’ is performed by the Kamade tribe people. It is one of the ancient performing arts of Rajasthan. One of the most entertaining dance forms of the state, Terah Tali dance attracts tourists from all over the world. The women are dressed in colorful and embroidered Ghaghra-Choli along with Manjeeras in their hands and another thirteen cymbals tied in different body parts. These cymbals make a clinking sound which stands out from the vocals and other musical instruments. It’s the beat of these cymbals that give the dance its name “Terah Tali”.
One of the sensuous dance forms, the Kalbelia dance is performed by the “Kalbeliyans”, the snake charmers community of Rajasthan. The dancers wear long black skirts embellished with silver ribbons and perform various stunts of wheeling and bending with the local Rajasthani music. As they move in circles, their body moves acrobatically to the tunes of Dufli and Pungi. With an increase in the beats, the zestful and dynamic display of their perfect movements is a treat to the eyes. The Kalbeliyan women are also expert in singing and dancing. Earlier they used to sing and dance only on the festivals and weddings in their own discrete style. As the time changed, these women started performing stage shows with distinct dancing style and attires.
A type of folk dance renowned in the state of Rajasthan, the Bhavai dance is performed by the females belonging to the Kumhar, Jat, Meena, Kalbelia, Bhil and Raigar communities of the state. A thrilling pot balancing dance form of Rajasthan, Bhavai is performed with a huge set of skills. A traditional dance form that can be traced to the feudal era, the dance showcases the art of gyrating and dancing even while balancing numerous articles on one’s head. The Bhavai dance is performed by veiled women dancers balancing seven to nine brass pitchers on their heads as they move lightly, regularly swaying and spinning with their feet resting on top of a glass or on the edge of a sword. The addition to the dance is provided by the male performers singing euphonious songs and playing several musical instruments including dholak, sarangi, pakhwaja, jhanjhar and harmonium.
A lively folk dance, the Kachhi Ghodi Dance is a perfect form to experience the royal culture of Rajputs in Rajasthan. Originated from the bandit regions of Shekhawati, the dance is performed by men on dummy horses. Dressed in intricate costumes – dhoti-kurta and red turban decorated with mirror work, the dancers move musically to the drum beats. The dance form is mainly performed by the tribes of Rajasthan and depict the socio- historical scenario peculiar to the race and time they portray. The songs played in the Kachhi Ghodi Dance are mainly about the explicit traders and businessman of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.
One of the popular Rajasthani folk dance, Gair is the dance form of the Bhil community of the state. This is one of the performances wherein both men and women dance together. Dhol, dholak, nagada is played in the background during Gair Dance. The dancers are dressed traditionally in vibrant long pleated tunics that open out into full -length skirts. The enchanting background music and the beautiful attire makes this dance more attractive. The Gair dance is performed by groups of dancers moving first in the clockwise direction and then in an anti-clockwise direction, striking their sticks when they turn thus creating the rhythm. The striking of the sticks gives the dance a steady tempo and a dynamic character. The Gair dance is performed mainly during the festivals like Janmashtami and Holi.