Folk dance is a broad term that is used to describe all kinds of folk as well as tribal dances in all the regions across India. The folk dance forms are practiced in groups in the rural areas as a kind of expression of daily work and ritual.
These dances are performed for the sake of entertainment purpose on seasonal festivals and religious gatherings. If you want to explore the vast cultural landscape of the country, there is no better way through the folk dances.
It is because the dance offers unique glimpse and taste into its way of life, traditions and rituals. When you explore more, you will find that all of them tell the same story. What is truly magical is how different each dance is different from the other one.
In this particular post, we are going to take walk through the different kinds of folk dance forms in several parts of the country and celebrate the diverse visual poetry of India.
It is a tribal martial arts dance that is practiced in Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand. The dance is performed during a festival called Chaitra Parva which continues for 13 days. The dancers are laced with swords and shields who attack and defend each other with vigorous movements.
It is a very popular folk dance in the eastern and western regions of Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. The very name of it means “dance of the brave” and the performers try to pay tribute to Lord Shiva and Goddess Veerbhadra through their dance. The dancers make use of vigorous hand gestures and make use of spears and tridents.
It is one of the popular folk dance forms of India practiced in the state of Karnataka. It is a drum dance which is accompanied by singing. The performance by the artists serves as a mean of both entertainment as well as spiritual edification.
This folk dance is practiced in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh where the performance is exclusively done by women. It is a solo dance which is performed by ladies on special occasions like birthdays and weddings. Dhol is the main musical instrument used in this folk dance.
It is another very popular folk dance that is performed in the state of Kerala during Onam which is the harvest festival. The dance is a visual art in itself where performers paint themselves as hunters and tigers. It is indeed an awe-inspiring sight to watch.
It is a folk dance practiced in Kalahandi district of Odisha. Through this dance, the performers try to give a social message like literacy, saving girls, forestation etc. The dance is accompanied by a drum which is made up of clay and is called Ghumra Nat. It is a war dance between Gods and devil.
This tribal dance is performed by the tribes of Yadava and Yaduvanshi in Chattisgarh. The dance is performed during a festival called “Dev Udhni Ekadashi” when Gods wakes up from rest. The dance symbolizes the fight between King Kansa and the community of Yadavas.
It is one of the popular folk dance forms of India practiced in the state of Maharashtra typically by the women. This dance form has contributed a lot in the development of folk theatre. Dancers wear bright saree and tie their hair in a tight bun with stunning jewellary.
It is a very pleasant and joyful dance practiced in the state of Assam. The dancers are generally young boys and girls who perform during the agricultural festival. There is a twin faced drum and the dance is quite long and there is an exciting change of tempo, pace, movements and rhythm.
This is a traditional women folk dance performed in the state of Rajasthan. The women wear swirling robes which is known as Ghagra. The dancer twirls in circles continuously with amazing grace. While dancing, the women also clap their hands and snap their finger.
While talking about the different folk dance forms of India, there is one dance we cannot afford to miss and it is Garba. It was initially performed in Gujrat but with the passage of time, the dance has spread to other neighboring states as well. The dance is performed during Navratri to honor Goddess Durga.
It is a very ancient folk dance that is performed in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. It is interesting to note that Kathak has originated from this folk dance. The dance is performed during the festival of Holi and Janmashtami.
There is hardly a soul who doesn’t known about this folk dance performed by the Punjabis. It is performed by males and females during Baisakhi which is the harvest festival of Punjab. People wear vibrant dress and dance to the tune of the dhol.
This is one of the popular folk dance forms performed by the women in Jammu and Kashmir. The dancers split themselves in two different groups and put arm in arm by standing next to each other. The dancers make use of simple footwork and dance to a poetic song named as Chakri