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Popular Dances: Ghoomer, Gair, Kucchi Ghodi
Tribal Dances: Walar, Gowri

Dandia Dance, India Travel Guide, States, Rajasthan, Dances of RajasthanAn exposition of stillness of the desert evening and the upsurge of life in the short-lived rainy season or spring are filled with rhythmic dance found in almost limitless variations in Rajasthan. The colourful people of Rajasthan live life to the hilt. After hard work in the unrelenting, harsh desert sun and the rocky terrain, they seek a respite from their exhausting work by letting themselves enthrall in gay abandon. Their evocative and soulful music provides the perfect accompaniment to their vigorous and unsophisticated dancing.

Simple, spontaneous, dancing is seen in their fairs and festival in the ‘kudakna’ of the ‘meena’ boys, the dancing, which goes with the ‘rasiya’ songs of ‘Braj’, and the dancing by women and men where the women carry a pot or a lighted lamp on their head. In the ‘charkula’ dance of ‘Braj’, an elaborate lampstand replaces the single lamp. THE POPULAR DANCE FORMS
This is basically a community dance for women and performed on auspicious occasions. The famous ‘ghoomar’, Rajasthan’s popular dance gets its name from ‘ghoomna’, the graceful gyrating, which displays the spectacular colours of the flowing ‘ghaghra’, the long skirt of the Rajasthani women.

The ‘gair’ of Mewar has inner and outer circles of dancers who move diagonally or loop in and out. It is intricate and fascinating. The ‘gair’ of Jodhpur is performed in a single file and martial costumes are worn for effect. The ‘geendad’ of Shekhawati is similar. Sticks or swords are often used in male dances, and the Shekhawati dance has the ‘daf’ accompanying it.
Kucchi Ghodi Dace, India Travel Guide, States, Rajasthan, Dances of Rajasthan
Free dancing full of zest, with rows of dancers waving colourful pennants makes the Bam Rasiya of the Braj region spectacular. It is performed at Holi. The ‘Kucchhi Ghodi’ or horse dance is performed on festive occasions, by men who are as colourfully attired, as are their horses.

The ‘terahtali’ is a fascinating dance performed by women, while sitting. The women have ‘manjeeras’ (little brass discs) tied with long strings to their wrists, elbows, waists, arms and a pair in their hands as well. Their male accompanists sing and play the ‘tandoora’ while the women, with dexterous and fine movements, create a strong rhythm with the ‘manjeeras’. For added effect, they may hold a sword between their teeth or balance pots or lighted lamps on their heads.

The dance of the kalbelia women is vigorous and graceful.

An authentic fire dance is performed by the ‘jasnathis’ of Bikaner and Churu districts. The accompanying music rises in tempo as the dance progresses, ending with the performer dancing on brightly glowing embers, which is a breathtaking and deeply impressive sight.
This is a professional dance-form from Jalore. Five men with huge drums around their necks, some with huge cymbals accompany a dancer who holds naked sword in his mouth and performs vigorously by twirling three painted sticks.

Music and dance are such an essential part of tribal life that professional musicians and dancers are profuse. The ‘garasia’ tribals inhabit the Abu Road and Pindwara tehsils of Sirohi district and the neighbouring territories of Kotra, Gogunda and Kherwara tehsils of Udaipur district; Bali and Desuri of Pali district. They have folklore enriched with folktales, proverbs, riddles and folk music.

Walar is an important dance of the ‘garasias’ which is a prototype of the ‘ghoomar’ dance. The beats of the ‘mandal’, ‘chang’ and a variety of other instruments, which provide a lively rhythm to their dance sequences, generally accompany their dances.

The most famous ‘bhil’ dance is the ‘gowari’, a dance drama. Troupes of these dancers go from village to village for a month, during which the nine functionaries follow a strict regimen. The main characters are Rai Buriya Shiva, his two ‘Rais’, and ‘Katkuria’, the comic handyman. Between the enactment of various episodes, the entire troupe dances around a central spot consecrated to a deity. A ‘madal’ and a ‘thali’ accompany the dance.

The ghoomar is the characteristic dance of ‘bhils’. Men and women sing alternately and move clockwise & anti-clockwise giving free and intended play to the ample folds of the ‘ghagra’.

The music of the primitive group of ‘sahariyas’ (Sourias) of Shahbad, Kota, shows Central Indian links, with their songs speaking of Ram and Sita. The fairs of the ‘Meenas’ had a lot of free dancing, which is unfortunately on the decline.

Vibrant, zealous, graceful, serpentine, lugubrious and martial, the dance and music of Rajasthan evoke the desert in all its moods. It is the most lilting tribute to the spectacular beauty, the pulsating sinuousness and the brutal harshness of the landscape, and to the hardiness and heroism of the people who live in this 'Land of the Kings'.

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