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Music and Dances

Culturally rich and diverse state such as Gujarat is bound to have many different dance forms. Each tribe, each community has its own variation of the dances with a central theme of harmony and togetherness. These community dances bind the people together and enhance the spirit of compassion, unity and solidarity.

Dandiya Raas - Dandiya raas is also known as Raas and is the most popular dance form from the vibrant state of Gujarat. This dance form is associated with Lord Krishna and Radha in Vrindavan and around the festival of colours Holi. But interestingly, the dance is performed during the nine days of festivities and celebrations of Navratri during the month of October-November. People are dressed in their most colourful and vibrant costumes and practice the dance for months together to be able to perform well during the celebrations. This is an art form that is a perfect example of harmony and equality. People from all religious faiths come together and dance in a circle. The circle is endless and seamless and all inclusive. Many such circles form in the same dancing ground as per the skill levels of the dancers. Dancers hold short beautifully decorated sticks which they tap against each others sticks to perform this beautifully synchronised dance.

Garba - Another dance form which is performed during the Navratri celebrations is the Garba. The name originated from the Sanskrit word Garbha which means “The Womb”. The dancers dance in concentric rings or circles around an earthen lamp or an image of the Goddess Shakti. This dance is a devotional dance form and is dedicated to the venerated God or the lamp that is placed in the centre. A highly energetic dance form which requires the dancers to be quick footed.

Garbi - A slightly modified form of the Garba dance, this dance is performed by women during the Janmashtmi festivities. Another dance with circular dance moves and high on energy and grace. The musical instruments used in this dance are dhol or the drums accompanied by manjiras and narghas.

Tippani Folk Dance - Tippani is a long stick with a wooden or metal block at the end. Used in the masonry work, this tool has the purpose of flattening the flooring. The lore has that to break the monotony of the boring work, the labourers came up with this innovative and ingenious dance form where the women folk make a rhythm out of beating the tippani to the floor with some other musical instruments. A highly rhythmic and invigorating dance form, uses zanz, manjira, tabla and dhol for the musical sounds.

Hudo - Gujarat is home to many tribes and each tribe has its own unique dance and music. The Hudo dance is a popular dance form of the Bharwad tribe. This is a shepherd community and they imitate the movements of the sheep in their dance, especially the way sheep ram their heads against each others. The dancers clap their hands in rhythmic and forceful manner. Both men and women participate in this dance. There is tradition of selecting one’s life partner at the end of the dance.

Padhar - The uniqueness of the beautiful state of Gujarat is that, it is blessed with varied topographical characteristics. The land has mountains and vast plains on one hand and the endless Rann of Kutch and sea shores on the other. The Padhar community are the fishermen and their dance form is influenced by their livelihood. The dancers hold small sticks while dancing and enact the actions of rowing boats. Their songs are also associated with water.

Dangi - Dangis are another tribe from Gujarat. Their culture is a blend of Gujarati and Maharashtrian influence. Their dance is called the Dangi dance and is performed by both men and women. The dancers hold hands to form a chain and dance in a serpentine pattern with one dancer leading the chain. They have various moves which are termed as Chalas, and the whole dance has a variety of around 27 chalas; the most astonishing one being where the dancers form a human pyramid. This dance is a visual delight for the spectators with its stunning patterns that are formed within seconds. The choreography here plays a very vital role as does the quick footedness of the dancers.

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