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Folk Dances of India

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Folk Dances of Andhra Pradesh

Gobbi Dance

Gobbi Dance:
This is one of the popular dance forms from coastal regions of Andhra. Gobbi dance is the main attraction during the Samkranti festival. At this time, the courtyards of all houses are cleaned and decorated. For decoration purpose flowers are used with different kinds of rangavallis. Gobbillu i.e. balls of cow dung are placed in the middle of these rangavalli designs and worshipped with flowers, kumkum and turmeric in a ritualistic way. During evening time, young girls gather around this gobbillu to dance and sing. One can say, that this dance is a derived form of Garba dance performed in circular direction.

Burra Katha Dance

Burra Katha:
Burra Katha has a distinct form of heritage of story telling to the huge crowd. While story telling to strengthen the verbal idea Burra is used. Burra Katha named after the musical instrument "Burra", which is a modern form of ballad singing. It is believed that this dance is evolved from traditional Tandana Katha, this dance art preaches, entertains and provides relaxation to the rural folk.

A Burra Katha group consists of three artistes one being at the center and the other two acts as assistants under him known as Vantalu. The center artist is usually dressed with a long angaraksha, a beautiful turban with a crest feather, a tight paijama or dhoti, a colourful waistband and jingling bells on his knees. He holds a Tambura or sitar and Andelu and a Kerchief and sings the ballad while playing the instruments. The assistants, similarly dressed, play the instruments like Barralu or Budigalu.

Burra refers to the tambura, a musical instrument played by the storyteller (kathakudu) to grab the attention of viewers. This main player beats music in another manner, too - he wears a metal ring on his right thumb, and holds another like ring in his hand. He also introduces the story, which is mainly based on history or mythology. He constantly addresses to the co-artists. There are drummers, who stand on either side of him. With them on the right, the Rajkiya, who enhance to a social and political commentary, to the left, the hasyam clown for comic relief. They play the dakki (earthen drums of two heads), which is an important part of a Burra Katha show.

The Traditional and modern Burra Katha differs in many ways. Traditionals are not stick to one particular definite style of dress or make up. Being polygamous, their wives play roles as assistants and instrumentalists. While the duration of the entire show is time bound, the metrical composition differs at different stages depicting the moods and incidents. Besides meters like Dwipada, Daruvu, Kandardhas, Kirtans the ballads compositions now contains the variety of songs in form and content.

Dhamal Dance

Dhamal Dance:
Dhamal is one of the typical & ceremonial dance forms of Siddis of Hyderabad region. It is a mimetic martial dance performed by Siddis. They use swords and shields held in their hands while performing various steps involved in the dance. This dance is ceremonial in nature performed especially on the occasion of marriage. Many musical instruments are used to accompany and make noises of `how wow`.

Siddis originally are from Africa continent and were brought in Andhra by the Hindu kings, in the middle of the 12th century to perform guard duties in their palaces. They were then favourite with the ruling classes as soldiers, sailors and personal bodyguards. As they were in great demand after realizing their better performance, they were brought from Africa and Abyssinia as slaves. Gradually, they were absorbed into the Indian culture, but their dances still have the flavour of the land of origin, in their special warlike movements. Their dances present a fascinating coordination of rhythmic body movement and colours in their exotic colorful costumes. The whole picture of dance is attention grabbing.

Mathuri Dance

Mathuri Dance:
The Mathuri dances are special tribal dances of the Mathuri tribes. These dances are performed during the rainy month of Shravana by the Mathuris living in Adilabad district of the Andhra.It is a dance in which men and women folk participate together, women participants forming the inner circle and men the outer semi-circle. The dancers sing themselves devotional and secular songs at the time of dance. The men strike the small sticks and the women clap to mark the time. It is said that the Mathuri dances have a close resemblance to Rasa-Lila of Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that the Mathuri tribe actually came from Mathura and therefore the dance is named accordingly.

Dandaria Dance:
The Gonds from the hilly region of northern Hyderabad district perform a stick dance, known as the Dandaria dance. The group of male dancers, dressed in colorful special costumes, visits to the nearby villages as a part of course of dance. When such visitors go at any place they are heartily welcomed by the host party. The guests and the hosts dance together in anti-clockwise direction. Even they have accompaniment of drums and trumpets and striking of sticks that are held in their hands. The musicians lead the procession. It is exclusively a male performance and the female roles are also performed by the young men, dressed as women and girls.

A Gond legend behind this dance is that an ancient Gond hero Dandaria, a descendant of the Pandava prince was the original creator of this dance. Therefore, the Gonds proudly believe themselves to be the descendants of the Pandavas and celebrate this faith vigourously.

Bathakammas are mainly performed in a region, Telengana of Andhra Pradesh during the time of Bathakamma Festival. Generally, Female participants perform it. Inhabited by many large tribes in various parts of Andhra Pradesh, these tribes present a rich wealth of traditional folk and tribal dances. Bathakamma is a special festival to such communities in the Telangana region. In the month-long Bathakamma festival, Goddess Bathkamma`s idol is worshipped and taken to rivers or lakes and floated in the evening.

Bathakamma is exclusively performed by female folk in front of the idol of Goddess Bathkamma. This festival is very important to newly married women. They perform it with a great devotional feeling for the peace and success of their married life.

The legend behind this dance throws light on story that once upon a time there was a Rajput king having a beautiful daughter named Saijanbai. After marriage, she was sent back by her in-laws to her father`s house because she could not perform the household duties properly. Latter on she worshiped Goddess Bathkamma & became happy in her life.

Bhamakalpam & Gollkalapam:
The most important types of the traditional drama are `Bhamakalapam" and "Gollkalapam" written by Siddhendra Yogi in seventh century. Both are very famous folk arts in all parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Kalapam is a kind of traditional dance-drama, simpler in its thematic development and affects on minds of audience by its direct moral appeal. It is a mono-play, characterizing one main person and another less important than him. Some times, this is also termed as one-act play in folk form. Each character takes entry on the stage with self-introductory paragraph. While the Sutradhar conducts the plays by his running commentary on the sequences and try to fill the dramatic gaps left by the main character. It is a short running play and it mainly emphasis on Sattvikabhinaya with "Sringar" or "Bhakti" rasa. While the main character narrates his or her experiences, the other one encourages by asking questions or making comments.

The most important types of this traditional drama are `Bhamakalapam" and "Gollkalapam" written by Siddhendra Yogi in seventh century to retain the sanctity of dance from prostitute-dancers. For doing that he trained a whole clan of boys, chosen from Brahmin community and initiated into this form of art. Later on, Bhamakalpam gained more popularity and attained classical heights. It contains elaborate expressions and complex gesture adhered in by Kuchipudi, a classical dance form. But in Golakalpam philosophical plot forms the base. Gollkalpam is a philosophical play in which a milkmaid explains to the Brahmin the philosophy behind God`s persisting appearance on this earth, at times there had been threats to Dharma.

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