The heartland of India still lies in the lakhs of villages that exist in India. Simple and friendly people who lead a basic yet colorful life characterize the Indian countryside. There is a drastic difference in the way of life, culture and art forms of the people living in the cities and those living in the villages of India. The village culture that encompasses music, fine arts and other traditions are based on a very different set of beliefs and principles. One such rural art that has strong roots even today is the folk dance or dance forms that are popular mainly in rural India. There is a whole range of folk dances of India that are immensely popular even at the international level.
The Indian dance forms are primarily divided into two classes, namely, classical and folk dance. The Indian classical dances are comparatively more complex and have a firm set of guiding rules. The folk dances on the other hand are relatively simple but are also based on a specific framework. The folk dances of India are inspired by the village way of life, rural or mythological folklore and fables and country music. However, mastering these folk dances is equally challenging and requires the dancers to practice extensively to perfect the movements. Every region or state in India has a specific folk dance associated with it. The prominent types of folk dances include Dandiya and Garba from the state of Gujarat, Bhangra and Gidda from Punjab, Tamasha or Lavani from Maharashtra, Manipuri dance from Manipur and Rajasthani dance from the colorful land of Rajasthan.
India is a land of varied cultures and traditions. Diversities in all spheres make the Indian culture quite unique. Indian folk and tribal dances are product of different socio-economic set up and traditions. Indian folk and tribal dances are simple and are performed to express joy. In India we have festivals and celebrations virtually every day. This has added to the richness of Indian culture. Since every festival is accompanied by celebration, folk dances have become an integral part of our social milieu. While there are numerous folk and tribal dances, they are constantly improved. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance.
Folk dances are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The folk dances are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movement. Indian folk dances are full of energy and vitality. Some dances are performed separately by men and women while in some performances men and women dance together. On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, accompanied by artists with instruments. Each form of folk dance has a specific costume and rhythm. Most of the costumes, worn for folk dances, are colorful with extensive jewels and designs.
Dandiya and Garba are two of the most colorful and rhythmic folk dances in India. Both these forms originate from Gujarat and are mainly performed during the festival of Navratri, which precedes the festival of lights, Diwali. The dancers in Dandiya dance in pairs with two long and slender sticks. These sticks are known as Dandiya and hence the name. The Garba is also a Gujarati form of dance. In this, the dancers dance in one large circle and include hand gestures and claps as the prominent form of action. One of the Indian folk dances that have acquired global recognition is the Bhangra. This dance form hails from the north Indian of Punjab and has extremely vigorous and challenging movements based on great foot-tapping music. Usually, the male dancers perform this dance form while its female version is known as the Gidda.
These folk dances of India have been the mainstay of the culture and ethnicity of the country. These forms are still being cherished and followed extensively within the country.
Indian Folk Dances
Folk dance can be defined in the simplest words as a form of dance, developed by a group of people, which reflects the traditional life of the people of a certain country or region. This form of dancing involves a group of happy people, following dance instructions given by an experienced caller.
Known as the mecca of rich heritage and culture, India is one of the very few countries in the world that boasts of varied ethnicity and traditions. An instance of this is the folk dances that have survived past many centuries and continue to withstand, despite the lash of modernization.
North East India
India has a rich and varied collection of folk dances. In fact, these dances form a very important part of the life of most Indians, in terms of entertainment and celebration, particularly those living in the rural areas. India folk dances are originated from the ordinary people of a society or region and today, serve to reflect the diversity in the country's tradition and culture.
Indian folk dances are creation of different socio-economic set up and traditions. An integral part of the social environment, they are performed on different occasion, which might be the arrival of a new season, a particular festival, the birth of a child or even a wedding. Indian folk dances are full of energy and vitality and are performed to express joy.
North West India
India is a land of myriad art forms, one of the most predominant being dance. Whether it is classical or folk, the residents of the country have inclination towards the art form, which is performed in many festivals observed by them. Many people have taken dance as their profession and have been successful in pursuing their career in the art form as well.
India has a rich and varied collection of folk dances. These dances have made great contribution in the development of the classical dance forms of the country. They are less complex in technique, than their classical counterparts, but do follow a broad set of rules, which vary from one dance to another. Folk dances serve as an important part of the life of many Indians, as entertainment options, particularly those who live in the rural areas.
South West India
Almost every festival of India is celebrated with a folk dance, making the dance from an integral part of the country's culture. The diversity in culture and tradition of India is reflected in the folk dances of different states as well. While almost all of them are performed by the rural people, to express their joy on almost every occasion and festival, the elements differ from one region to another.