Mohiniyattam – Kerala
Mohiniyattam is one of the classical dances of India that developed and remained popular in the state of Kerala. Mohiniyattam dance gets its name from the word Mohini – a mythical enchantress avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, who helps the good prevail over evil by developing her feminine powers.
Bihu – Assam
The Bihu dance is an indigenous folk dance from the Indian state of Assam related to the Bihu festival and an important part of Assamese culture. Performed in a group, the Bihu dancers are usually young men and women, and the dancing style is characterized by brisk steps, and rapid hand movements. The traditional costume of dancers is colorful and centred round the red colour theme, signifying joy and vigour.
Manipuri Raas – Manipur
Manipuri dance, named after the region of its origin – Manipur, is particularly known for its Hindu Vaishnavism themes, and exquisite performances of love-inspired dance drama of Radha-Krishna called Raslila. However, the dance is also performed to themes related to Shaivism, Shaktism and regional deities such as Umang Lai during Lai Haraoba.
Nati – Himachal
Nati refers to the traditional dance of Sirmaur district Kullu and Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. The dance is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as largest folk dance. This dance is also popular in Chandigarh where it’s performed by Himachali youth in cultural programmes. This dance is also popular in Jounsari community in Uttarakhand.
Craft is the desire of the heart tuned perfectly with the rhythm of the body. The ardent souls of the exquisite and elegant folk performers are bound to book everyone’s attention, leaving the audience with a smile and an expression of awe, as they witness the mesmerizing traditional and folk performances.
Manganiar – Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, many Manganiar songs are in praise of Hindu deities and celebrate Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Holi where the performers traditionally invoke the Hindu God Krishna and seek his blessing before beginning their recital. These communities of folk musicians refer to themselves as Merasi, which translates as ‘musicians’ or ‘keepers of the stories’ and had been titled this by patrons, including wealthy and powerful Rajput patrons.
Odissi – Orissa
Odissi, in its history, was performed predominantly by women, and expressed religious stories and spiritual ideas, particularly of Vaishnavism (Vishnu as Jagannath). Odissi performances have also expressed ideas of other traditions such as those related to Hindu gods – Shiva and Surya, as well as Hindu goddesses.
Kuchipudi – Andhra Pradesh
Kuchipudi is one of the eleven major Indian classical dances. The Kuchipudi performance usually begins with an invocation. This is the reason why Abdul Khalid – the celebrated Kuchipudi dancer, opened the 2nd International Craft Awards at India Craft Week 2018. Abdul Khalid has performed at several prestigious festivals like the Konark International Festival in 2009 with Dr. Sonal Mansingh and her troupe. He also performed at Parampara Dance Festival in 2012 & 2013 organised by Raja and Radha Reddy.
Gaur Maria – Madhya Pradesh
Gaur Maria dance is performed in plateau of Bastar in Chhattisgarh. It is performed on the occasion of marriage. It is believed that it is performed with more joy than other dances. Gaur dance is popular in the Sing Marias or Tallaguda Marias of South Bastar.
Kathakali is one of the major forms of classical Indian dance. It’s a “story play” genre of art, but
one distinguished by the elaborately colourful make-up, costumes and facemasks that the traditionally male actor-dancers wear.
Rouf – Kashmir
The Rouf is a folk dance which originated in the Muslim community of the state of Kashmir in India. The dance originated several years back in order to celebrate the good weather of the spring season and also for the purpose of merriment in the various festivals like Id-ul- Fitr. The dance is being performed by the women in beautiful costumes and in a characteristic music. The dance is simple footwork which is also called Chakri in the local language.
Odissi - Orissa (Urvashi-Pururva Akhyan)
At the 3rd International Craft Awards 2019, Junahi Mehta performed a fascinating conversation of meta-physical love, between “Urvashi” and “Pururva”. This is an excerpt, from the poetic drama named “URVASHI”, composed by Shri Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Urvashi was a famous apsara (celestial nymph) descended from Devloka; and Pururva –a king also known as a brave son of earth. Celestial being falling in love with humans is a popular theme in Indian Mythology. This is a poem of love and beauty, and both Urvashi & Pururva, meet each other, with different types of thirst, in their soul.
Pung Cholom – Manipur
Soul of Manipuri Sankirtana music and Classical Manipuri dance, Pung Cholom is a unique classical dance of Manipur. This dance may be performed by men or women and is usually a prelude to the Ras Lila. In this style, the dancers play the pung (a form of hand beaten drum) while they dance at the same time.
Chhau – West Bengal
Chhau dance is a semi classical Indian dance with martial, tribal and folk traditions. The dance is traditionally an all males troupe, regionally celebrated particularly during spring every year. The stories enacted by Chhau dancers include those from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Puranas and other Indian literature.
Koli – Maharashtra
Koli is the dance form of Koli fisher folk of Maharashtra. The community has its own distinct identity and lively dances. They dance together with movements symbolizing the waves and happiness.
Bhopa Bhopi – Rajasthan
The Bhopa people are the priest-singers of the folk deities in the state of Rajasthan, India. They perform in front of a scroll, known as phad that depicts the episodes of the narrative of the folk deity and functions as a portable temple. The Bhopa sings various episodes from the narrative of Pabuji and his wife known as Bhopi holds an oil lamp near the visual being described. The Bhopi also sings some parts of the episodes.
Kalbelia – Rajasthan
The Kalbelia dance, performed as a celebration, is an integral part of Kalbelia culture. Their dances and songs are a matter of pride and a marker of identity for the Kalbelias. Kalbelia songs are based on stories taken from folklore and mythology and special dances are performed during Holi. In 2010, the Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of its Intangible Heritage List by the UNESCO.
Dhumal – Jammu & Kashmir
Dumhal is a dance performed in Jammu and Kashmir by the Rauf tribe. Only the men folk of the Rauf are privileged to perform this dance, on specific occasions and at set locations. Generally, this dance is performed with wearing long, colourful robes and tall, conical caps, studded with beads and shells.
Cheraw – Mizoram
Cheraw dance is a traditionally ritual dance performed in Mizoram, India, consisting of mostly
six to eight people holding a pair of bamboo staves on another horizontally placed bamboo at the ground. The male performers then clap the bamboos rhythmically while groups of beautiful girls dance in an intricate steps between the beating bamboos.
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