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Folk Dances of India

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Folk Dances of Haryana

Saang Dance:
Saang dance is a popular dance form of Haryana, reflecting its culture in true sense. A group comprising in even numbers such as ten or twelve persons performs it. The dance is mainly reflecting religious stories and folk tales that are performed in open places and can lasts for 5 hours. Some of the male participants dress as women to perform the female casting in dance. The meaning of `Saang` or `Swang` is disguise or `to impersonate`. It is believed that this dance form was first originated and then evolved in its present form by Kishan Lal Bhaat in 1750 AD.

Chhathi Dance:
In many places of India, the birth of new child is celebrated with pleasure. Chhathi dance is also a ritualistic dance, performed at the birth occasion. But, this dance is performed only on the birth of a male child. Women perform this dance on the sixth day of the birth. It is a romantic dance and performed at nighttime. At the end of the celebration boiled wheat and chana are distributed to all present members.

Khoria Dance

Khoria Dance:
This dance is a collective form of variety of the Jhumar dance style & steps. Women perform this dance exclusively. It is popular in the central region of Haryana, and is connected with the daily affairs of the people and with the most important events like the harvest, agricultural work, etc.

In the actual performance, women & girls while singing a folk song enter in the dancing place and make a circular order. The simple movements acquire form and color with the swirling. For dance, performers wear full gold-work skirts and colored chundries and the gleam and jingle of heavy rustic jewelry. The graceful steps give place to a faster tempo. Until, two or three pairs of the girls break from the ring into the center with crossed arms joined together, swirling on the axis of their feet, while the girls in the ring clap to the beat of the drum. In final stage, the dance is performed mainly around the circumference.

The Khoria dance is also performed on occasion of marriage. This is usually performed during the long wait for the bridegroom to bring his new bride home. During this theme of dance, the women mime the entire wedding ceremony, in the performance.

By this dance, the women prey for the safety about return of the marriage party along with the newly wed couple. By staying awake whole night for dancing, they also protect their house, as the men folk are all away to the bride`s house. Due to the bawdy nature of this dance small children are kept away.

Dhamal Dance

Dhamal Dance:
Dhamal is a folk dance form, whose origin is rooted back to the days of the Mahabharat. The Dhamal dance is famous in the Gurgaon area, which is inhabited by Ahirs. In the beginning of the dance, the player gives the first long note, then musical instruments like Dhol, Tasha, Nagara, pick up the beat and actually the dance begins. Some of the dancers carry large Daphs in their hands to give music. These Daphs edged with frills of bright colour fabric. Others carry sticks in their hand. These sticks wrapped with tinsel and with tassels at both ends, which are called shuntis. This dressing style is unique which suits movements of this dance completely.

Men perform this dance outdoors only on moonlit nights of Phalgun month. They sing and dance with the sound of the Dhamal beats. At the starting of the dance, a long pleasant tune of `Been` is played. It is said that the people perform this dance whenever their crop is ready for harvesting purpose.

In the course of action, the men participants form a semi-circle and bowing down to the ground they pray for the blessings of Lord Ganesh, the Goddess Bhavani and the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

Ghoomar Dance

Ghoomar Dance:
Circular movements of the dancers mark this dance as different one. The girls from the areas bordering to State generally perform Ghoomar. The dancers take a circular mode, and move about clapping and singing. After some time, tempos of the dance is accelerated & dance steps become fast. The accompanying songs are full of satire and humour and refer to contemporary events, while the dancers twirl around in pairs.

A dance called Ghoomar is popular in the western parts of the Haryana. The girls sing while they dance in a swirling movement and as the tempo of the music increases the girls form pairs and swirl faster and faster. This dance is performed on occasion of festivals such as Holi, Gangaur Puja and Teej.

Ras Leela

Ras Leela:
Ras leela The word Ras in Ras Leela signifies dance, which is considered a pleasant dance form in India. Ras Leela, which was an inseparable part of Lord Krishna`s childhood action he used to perform at Gokul and Vrindavan.

Ras Leela dance is common folk dance among the people living in the `Braja` area of the Faridabad district of the State. Ras Leela contains many songs, which are in praise of Lord Vishnu. As Lord Vishnu has been manifest in many incarnations, songs are fairing descriptive in nature.

The natives have religious linkage behind performing Ras Leela. They strongly believe that Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Embodiment. He is Lord Krishna. The `gopis` of Braj Bhoomi, the simple milkmaids, are his true devotees. Krishna chooses them as the finest examples of human beings, for they willingly surrender their all to the Lord, one by one.

Their pride, their ego, their ignorance, their possessiveness-they lay them at his feet. Radha, the most beautiful of gopis, proud of her beauty and power over men, is the last surrender to the utter bliss of the Lord. Jayadeva, the composer of Gita Govinda tells her story in lyrical verse; the story of the eternal struggle of the human being, the Ras Leela becomes a dance of spiritual ecstasy with God pervading the world as His own Self and as the selves of the dancing gopis.

In actual dance gopis form a circle around Krishna and dance collectively. In this circular dance, the bracelets, anklets, the bells of the gopis sound together in perfect harmony. Gopis, moving in rhythm, sway their bodies gracefully. The costumes for the dance are colourful, embroidered and having mirrors on it.

Jhumar Dance

Loor Dance

Jhumar Dance:
The dance named as Jhumar dance from an ornament called as "Jhumar" commonly worn on forehead by young married women. This dance is exclusively performed by women. In some parts of State, this is also known as `Hariyanvi Gidda`. Dressed in colourful costumes, the ladies dance in gay abandons singing and clapping with the beats of `dholak` and `thali`. At the same time, they are gracefully moving in a circle.

There are many variations in performing this dance, each with its own distinctive rhythm. The performance lasts for several hours. Any girl from the group comes forward and breaks into song such as :
Kori kori chandi ki chandri ghari,
oupar gharyanagina,
hai mana tari sohn,
Phagun ka must mahina aiya

After starting of the dance another girl steps forward to come inside, swaying rhythmically with perfect poise and steps. The second line of the song sung by them is shared by both. The tempo of the dancing increase as the dance proceeds further. The other girls do not leave their places but keep on singing the song and clapping their hands or against each other`s. There is a short pause before a new line of the song is started. This dances somewhat similar to the well-known Punjabi Giddha and is thus named Haryanvi Giddha. It is common in all parts of the state Haryana.

Loor Dance:
Girls perform the Loor during the month of `Phalguna` (pring). This dance is named so because the word `Loor` means girl in the Bangar area of Haryana. It is specially performed during the Holi festival. This dance marks the arrival of pleasant spring season and with it the sowing of the Rabi crops in the farms. The songs are generally in the form of questions and answers format.

Girls usually participate in this dance wearing their traditional dress of `Ghagra`, `Kurti`, `Chundri` and `Chunda`.

Gugga Dance:
Gugga means a saint. In the Gugga dance, devotees of Gugga dance around his grave in his respect and sing various songs in his praise. Male participants exclusively perform the Gugga. Gugga dance is ritualistic in nature performed in procession taken out in memory of saint Gugga. Though the dance is very simple but it evokes spiritual fervour among the devotees of Gugga.

Gugga is worshiped all over Haryana. Both Hindus and Muslims worship Gugga Pir & have respect & faith in him. Usually, the dance is performed in a procession held on a day about a week before the Gugga Naumi. The devotees sing and dance in praise of Gugga. Musical instruments like `Deru`, `Thali` and `Chimta` accompany the dance.

Gugga Pir is known by several names - Guru Gugga, Zahir Pir, Bagarwalla, etc. Gugga is worshipped practically all over State and devotees are scattered over the neighboring states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Himachal.

The Pir (saint) was born on Bhadon Naumi at Dadreva village in Bikaner (Rajasthan). This day is celebrated as Gugga Naumi all over in northern India. Gugga is said to be a Chauhan Rajput. Colonel Tod is of the view that his name was Bachhraj. According to a famous legend, he was married to Kumari Sirial, daughter of Raja Sanjha of Kamrup.

About a week or two before Gugga Naumi, his devotees take out a procession, led by a bhagat, carrying Gugga ki chhari- a strong and long bamboo stick, decorated with fans, garlands, flower and colored pieces of cloth. Five `bhagats` (Panch Vir) are the main dancers. They carry their own musical instruments in their hands, consisting of dholak, manjiras, deru (a small side drum), chimta and cymbals. The bhagats sing songs in praise of Gugga.

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