Folk dance is a broad term that describes many simple Indian dances that are performed to either express joy or celebrate a welcoming event like wedding, arrival of new baby, festivals, and many other joyous occasions. Though the steps of the dance are much simpler than classical dance, they are a delight to watch. The folk dancers carry the performance with such gusto that you will not be able to resist tapping your own feet and swaying with the music. The folk dances are usually performed in groups, with specific colorful costumes adorned by all the participants. Foreign tourists love to watch the folk dances of India when they are on tour. Not many are familiar with all the different types of folk dances that are performed on different occasions, in India. Though all the folk dances of India are equally attractive, these are 6 Indian folk dances that a foreigner must watch.
Yakshagana is the folk dance that is very popular even to this day in the Malenadu and coastal region of Karnataka. The amazing on stage performance of artists with unique make-up is usually carried on from dusk to dawn. The costume, dance and music of Yakshagana is completely independent of influences from any other art forms of India. Dollu Kunita is another equally famous folk dance of Karnataka.
Garba is the folk dance of Gujarat, usually performed to mark the celebrations of Navratri, celebrations that lasts nine nights and also during marriage ceremonies. The dancers wear bright colored costumes which are further brightened by the mirror embroidery and jewelry. The dance honors the deity Durga. Raas is said is said to be the energetic and frenzied form of garba dance performed in honor of deity Krishna.
4. Bihu dance
Bihu dance is a very aggressive Assamese dance performed by both the males and females celebrating the festival of Bihu. Decked in traditional Assamese clothing, the dancers express their joy through brisk steps with equally fast hand movements to match them. The performance is enhanced by the amazing Bihu music which is composed by traditional musical instruments such as xutuli, taal, gogona and dhol.
Ghoomar is the folk dance of Rajasthan performed by women dressed in long full flowing skirts and veils. These dancers are accompanied by men and women who lend music to the dance. Recently the dance has gained popularity worldwide, making into the lists of top local dances of the world. The graceful swirling dance of ghoomar has aesthetic, as well as spiritual appeal to it.
Though the title given to this folk dance is quite new, the dance of the Punjabis celebrating the harvest is quite ancient. The dance form which has incorporated steps not only from other Punjabi traditional folk dances but also western and other cultures has gained popularity everywhere. The passionate and relaxed robust movement of these dancers appeals to each and everyone. Today, the dance form has entered the fitness industry as well.
Chhau is a very popular folk dance in the states of Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The brightly attired dancers blend both the dance and martial arts, performing many mock combats during the performance. It also involves imitation of birds, animals and chores of village housewives. Unlike other dance forms, this particular folk dance is passed on from the family of dancers who are trained to perform it in perfection. The dance is often based on a theme taken from either Ramayana or Mahabharata, though it may have other folklore or abstract themes as well.