Some of the best known folk
dances of Rajasthan are Bhavai, Chari, Drum Dance, Fire Dance, Gair,
Ghoomar, Kachhi Ghodi, Kathak, Kathputli, Sapera Dance and Terah Tali.
Ghoomar is a community
dance form of the Rajputs and performed by the women of the house. The
is derived from the
word ghoomna, which means moving in circles. Ghoomar is a
very simple dance in which the women uses simple swaying movements to
convey the spirit of any auspicious occasion and move gracefully in
circles. There is an amazing grace as the skirts flare slowly while
the women twirl in circles, their faces covered by the veil. All the
women, whether old or young, participate in the dance, which can
continue for hours into the night. A new bride, on being welcomed to
the home of her husband too, is expected to do the Ghoomar dance as
one of the rituals of the marriage.
Gair is one of the dance forms of the Bhil tribes. This picturesque dance
is performed during Holi festival and performed by both men and women together.
The men wear long, pleated tunics that open out into full-length
skirts as they move first in clockwise then in anti-clockwise
direction, beating their sticks to create the rhythms when they turn.
The variations of this dance are the Dandia Gair of the Marwar and
Geendad of the Shekhawati region.
Chari Dance is more popular in the Kishangarh region. This dance involves dancing with a
chari or pot on the head. The dancers make the intricate
patterns with their hands while balancing brass pots on their
heads. The performance is made more picturesque with the flames
from cotton seeds set alight, so that the bobbing heads create
streaks of illuminated patterns as they move effortlessly around
4. Kachhi Ghodi
Kachhi Ghodi dance originated from the Bandit region of Shekhawati.
This dance is performed by the men for the entertainment in the
bridegroom's party. The men wear elaborate costumes that looks like
riding on the dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these men move
rhythmically on the beating of drums and a ballad singer sings the
exploits of the Robin Hood.
The fire dance is performed by the Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu. These
dancers perform this dance on a large bed of flaming coals on to the
beats of drums that rises in crescendo till the dancers appear to be
in a near hypnotic state. These devotional performances can be usually
seen on the winter’s night.
The Bhavai dance is one of the most spectacular dance. In this dance,
the veiled women dancers balance up to seven or nine brass pitchers as
they dance nimbly, pirouetting, and then swaying with the soles of
their feet perched on top of a glass, or on the edge of a sword. Some
of the performers use only papier mache pots that are stuck together,
and move their feat, amazingly.
7. Drum Dance
The drum dance is performed by the warriors. In this dance, a naked
sword is put in the mouth of a man, and juggle three swords with his
hands while avoiding the injury caused to himself. His troupe that
consists of musician holding aloft drums around their necks and
cymbals in their hands assist him in this dance.
Kathak, a formal and classical form of dance evolved as a Gharana in
the courts of Jaipur where it reached to such a scale that established
it as distinct from the other centres. Even today, the Jaipur Gharana
is well established and the performances occur in other centres rather
than in the state where the opportunity for classical dance forms has
been on the decline for a while. The most famous centre of Kathak in
Jaipur is the Jaipur Kathak Kendra, where this dance form is still
taught by some of the earlier tecahers of the Jaipur Gharana.
The traditional puppet show or Kathputli dance, once existed in
Rajasthan. Kathputli dance is a traveling form of entertainment and
uses the ballads, retold in the voice of the puppeteer who is assisted
by his family in erecting a make-shift stage. In this dance, the
puppets are strung on the stage and various historic stories, tales of
love are told and include much screeching and high-pitched sounds as
the puppets swirl and move frenetically.
The Sapera Dance is one of the most sensuous dance forms of Rajasthan
which is performed by the Kalbeliya snake-charmers community. In this
dance, the sapera dancers wear long, black skirts embroidered with
silver ribbons. As they spin in circle, their body swings in such a
way, that it is impossible to believe that they are made of anything
other than rubber. Sometimes, the music and dance increases to such a
pitch that it leaves the viewer and as well as the dancer exhausted.
Terah Tali is the devotional form of dance that is practiced by the
Kamad community of Pokhran and Deedwana, to honour their folk hero,
Baba Ramdeo. In this dance, the women sit on the floor before his
image and thirteen cymbals are tied to various parts of their body
which they strike with the ones they hold in their hand. Their hands
make various patterns while they do this, and sometimes, they may also
balance pots on their hands and hold a sword in their mouth.