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Folk Dances of India

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Folk Dances of Goa

Dashavatara Dance

Dashavatara is performed to express ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu in dance or enacted form. Dashavatara term derives from the word `Das` means ten, & `Avatar` means incarnations. All Avatars are summarized in a holy book named "Vishupurana". There are two streams of thoughts regarding the origin of the dance. One stream believes this dance form has evolved from "Yakshagana", while another considers it, to have emerged from "Kuchipudi".

Many actors believe that Dashavatara is originally a dance form from Kerala State, and they worship a deity of the Walaval region in Kerala. Whatever maybe the source, the same form is also performed in the Konkan region from in the 16th century & performed till today.

The `Sutradhar` is a person who begins the play. The "Sutradhar" is a stage manager & tells the subject of the theft of the `Vedas` in loud voice & with exclaimed words. `Brahmin` figures, women actors representing the rivers, actors playing Lord Brahma (the Creator) and Goddess Saraswati (the goddess of learning), and the demon Shankhasur, are some of main characters appear in the play as it goes on.

The dance form is also accompanied by musical background. The overture continues with play for about two hours, and the proper drama known as "Akhyana" means important lesson, begins after this. The play is concerned with stories from the epics and mythological convictions, concludes at the time of sunrise.

The dress-up of all performers is very graceful. The facial makeup is generally done using red and white colours, which distinguishes Dashavatara actors from the spectators. The evening commences with prayers dedicated to Lord Ganapati sung by the Sutradhar (stage manager) at the starting of the play.

The ten incarnation of Vishnu are Matsya (Fish), Koorma (Tortoise), Varaha (Wild Bore), Narasimha (Half Man & Half Lion), Vamana (Dwarf), Parashuraama, Raama, Balaraama Krishna, & Kalki. They form the base of Dashavatara dance.

Ghode Modni Dance

Ghode Modni Dance

Ghode Modni Dance:
Goa was the region, which was ruled by the Portuguese for many years. Hence, the European influence is very strong in folk art & culture of the State. Similarly, it is quite evident in the annual Carnival Festival of Goa.

Ghode Modni dance is named according to words -`Ghode` means `horse` and `Modni` means `gyrations and dance-like movements`. The dance is literally involving horse-like movements in its performance. It is a spectacular warrior-dance performed for the remembrance of the victory of the Ranes, the Maratha rulers of the Satari taluka in Goa, over the Portuguese.

This dance is more popular in Bicholim, Pernem and Satari talukas which was once ruled by the Marathas. It is also performed during the time of Shigmo festival in Goa. For the performance, the kshatriya dancers wear a huge head gears made up of colourful flowers. And the wooden horses are beautifully bridled and decorated with spotless white clothes, and there are tied ghungurs on the anklets. The performance begins with the simple steps of the dance. With holding the bridle in one hand and brandishing and waving a naked sword in the other hand, the dancers take forward and backward steps on the beat of drums - Dhol, Tasha and Cymbals. These instruments are used to recreate the prancing of war horses.

Basically, the brave deeds & praiseful actions of the Goan warriors are expressed in their dance named as Godhe Modni dance. This dance is also known as dummy horse presentation, where the attractively dressed dancers armed with swords perform. For three days the people are in a mood for fun and frolic during Carnival. This dance is a special attraction of this Annual Carnival season.

Goff Dance

Goff Dance:
It is a folk dance performed with using cords, reflecting joy and happiness of peasants from Goa after the Season of harvest. Generally, it is performed during the Shigmo festival in Phalgun month. Each dancer holds a colourful cord that is hanging at the center point of the `mand`. The `mand` is the place of dance performance. The dancers start dancing intricately with forming a beautiful, colourful, intricate braid at the end of the first movement. The music begins once again and the dancers reverse the pattern of dancing in a skillful manner that at the end of the second movement the braid gets unrevealed and all the cords are loose and single once again.

There are four different braids of Goff dance. The songs that are sung during the dance performance are mostly devoted to Lord Krishna. Ghumat, Samael and Surta Shansi or melodic instruments accompanies the dance performance. Goff has an affinity with tribal dance forms of Gujarat State.

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