Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Ghoomar Dance: royal folk dance performed on festive occasions

Ghoomar a traditional royal folk dance has strings attached to the state of Rajasthan. This dance was developed by the “bhil” community. The word ‘Ghoomar’ is derived form ‘Ghoomna’ which is a long skirt with spectacular colours. In the local language it is ‘ghaghra’.

The dance is performed in circles. The women arrange themselves in a circle.They start moving in clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Sometimes they clap. Footwork is an important ingrident of this dance. When the women dance the grace and the vibirant colour of the ghaghra can be seen.

The women dress themselves into traditional ghaghra and choli with chunaris. These costumes are highly decorated and have mirror work on them. In addition to that they wear their traditional jewellery along with bangles in their both hands. The faces of the dancers are covered.

Most populat song sung during the performance is “Mhari Ghoomar chhe Nakhrali ye Maye”. Songs are sung by both men and women.

It is performed by young girls or women. Age is not a barrier for this dance.

The dance performance can last for a couple of hours or it can last for the whole night.

It is performed on various auspicious occasions like fairs & festivals. In addition to that it is also a ritualistic dance.  It is performed on weddings. There is an interesting fact related to this dance form. The bride has to perform this dance once she is welcomed in her husbands house.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Hojagiri: Old Culture Dance requiring expertise

Hojagiri which is a famous folk dance of Tripura belongs to the Riang tribe. They are the expert of this dance art. This age old culture dance is performed on festive occasion like Hojagiri festivals, Durga Puja or Laxmi Puja.

Certain articles are required for a performance. They are earthen pitcher, oil lamp or candle, bottle, hankerships or flowers, Bailing (it is a plate made of bamboo) and metal plates. The speciality of this dance is that only lower half of the body is moved. The performers move metal plates while standing on a pitcher. Sometimes a bottle will be placed on the head with an oil lamp. All along the dance they twist their waist with much finesse like a snake to make their onlookers spellbound. It is the act of balance.

This dance is performed by only women. They group themselves in four to six members per group. The male members have the responsibility of singing and playing the instrument used in the particular dance performance.

Kham which is actually a drum with skin surfaces on both the sides is used for the music. Another instrument used is the sumui. As the music instruments used are a simple one so as the songs sung by the gents. The lyrics of the songs are very simple and they have no relation with the dance going on the stage.

Both males and females dress themselves by wearing their traditional dresses and ornaments. Women wear colourful traditional attires known as 'Rignai' (lower garment) 'Risa' and 'Rikutu' (upper garments). Male counter part wears 'Rikutu' for the loin and 'Kamcwlwi borok' for the upper part of the body.

A dance performance takes thirty to sixty minutes to finish. It can be performed in an open area or on a stage. It requires extensive training and dedication to become an expert of this dance.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Padayani: A ritualistic dance which worships Goddess Kali

Padayani also known as padeni is a ritualistic dance form which is very popular in kerala.It is known as a ritualistic dance because of two reasons. First it is performed in temples and second it is performed to worship Goddess Kali. In the ancient time it was performed to heal the illness of a sick person whose disease could not healed by medical facilitites. The word padayani literally means military formations or rows of army, but in this folk art we have mainly a series of divine and semi-divine characters potrayed in the dance.

Different facial expressions and gestures are used to express the mood of the character potrayed by the dancer. The major characters of this form are Yakshi, Kaalari means Lord Shiva, Bhairavi means Bhadrakali and Pakshi means bird.The dance movements are different for different kolams (characters). The dance movements are an identification mark for the characters. In addition to that specific leg movements and footsteps are also associated with every dance performance.

The attire for this dance performance consists of colourful masks and spectacular headgears called ‘kolams’. In addition to that they apply special makeup on their face. The attire shows the situation of killing the devil. It is prepared with coconut leaves, charcol paste, manayola (a mineral) silks. The faces of the dancer are painted black and white.

In this dance form different type of songs are used for different characters. They are nothing but peoms. These poems are recited during a dance performance.

Only a single type of instrument is used in the dance performance which is known as thappu. It is a one sided drum.

The dancer requires a lot of energy and boost for the performance. Only a skill ful dancer can successfully finish a dance performance.

This dance form lasts for one week. This dance performance is organised in the month of March and April.

The mixture of music, dance, theater, satire, facial masks, and paintings makes it tense and beautiful.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Dalkhai: A folk dance expressing love

Dalkhai is a popular folk dance which is very popular among the tribals of Odisha. It is performed on festive occasions like Dusserah, Bhaijauntia, Phangun Puni and Nuakhai. It is a way of worshipping Goddess Durga. ‘Dalkhai’ in Oriya language means ‘lady love’. It is known as Dalkhai because in the beginning and end of every stanza the word is used as an address to a girl friend.

The theme for this dance is love story so this dance potrays the love story of Radha and Krishna. In addition to that it presents some of the episodes from the tales of Ramayana and Mahabaharata.

The dance is performed by the ummarried girls. The ladies group themseleve. Each group consists of four to six members.  The dance movements consist of placing the legs close together and bending their knees. Another step is to sit half down and move forward and backward on the tune of music. The group perfrom this steps in circles. The circle moved in clockwise or anticlock wise direction. Apart of dancing these ladies also sing songs which depicts the natural beauty.

The instruments used for a performance are Nisan (gaint drum), Dhol, Tamki (one sided drum played with two sticks), Mahuri, Tasa. The dhol controls the tempo of this dance. The music department is in the hands of the male.

The attire for women consists of colourful Sambalpuri Sari and a long scarf on the shoulders. The ends of the scarf touched the bottom part of the hand. In addition to that they wear their traditional jewellery in their neck, hands and feet.They also put a garland in their hair. The costumes for men are also very colourful. They wrap a colourful cloth on their hair and tuck white flowers in it.  They wear a colourful dhoti and a closed t-shirt which has some patterns designed on it. This matches the costume of the lovely ladies.

The dance form is performed publicly. The dancers choose a spot.Next they make an idol from sand collected from the river. Next they worship it. This initiates the dance performance. The dance is performed for 36 hours.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Karakattam: An act of balancing pots with body and arms movements

Karakattam is an ancient and major dance form which originated in the state of Tamilnadu.  It is known as ‘Kudakoothu’. ‘Karakam’ means water pot. In this folk dance the dancers balance the water pot on their head while dancing. It is performed to praise the rain Goddess ‘Mariamman’. This village originated dance form is performed in the month of August because people believe that Goddess ‘Mariamman’ protects them from diseases like small pox and and cholera.

This dance from can be classified into two type. First is known as Aatta Karagam which is usually performed in temples as spiritual offering to the Goddess. Second is called Sakthi Karagam which is performed on stages for entertainment. It is a symbol of joy and happiness.

The dance is much more than just balancing pots on the heads. It depends on the skills of the dancer. Pots on the heads, the dancer dances on the edges of a shallow vessel and revolved it with his feet. In addition to that he/she can put a heap of grains on a wooden plank. He inserts a long needle into it. Then, bending down, he picks up the needle using his/her  eye-lashes. The scene looks spectacular to wacth. When the performance is going on people are so thrilled that they start biting their nails. The dancer can place bottles on the wooden plan and he/she can dance on it. He/she can go up and down on the step ladder. These acts would make you applaud the dancer.

This was about the dance movements/steps. Now the pots used in the performance are decorated with flowers. Sometimes a parrot is also used for the decoration purposes. Traditional pots are made up of mud but now they have transformed into stainless steel pots.

Musical instruments used during the performance are drums and long pipes. In the past the dance was accompanied with Naiyandi Melam. It is double headed hour glass shaped drum played with sticks. In present it also includes songs.Some of the famous tunes used during the performance include Nagaswaram and the rhythm of Thavil.

The dancers dress themselves into colourful attire which makes this dance elegant to watch. The costume for women consists of colourful sarees, garland in the hair and some ornaments. In addition to that they also apply makeup on their face.

This dance is performed by both men and women. It can also be performed in pairs also. The act can be solo or it can be grouped. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Koothu Dance: A theme based dance & narrative comedy act

Koothu Dance is one of the prominent and oldest dance forms of Kerela. This dance is a combination of acting and dancing. Koothu means dance.The principles used in this dance form is closely related to the principles laid in the Bharatha's Natya Sastra. This dance is 1800 years old. It is mainly performed in temples and the audience was mostly restricted to the upper class Hindus.

A dance performance consists of narration and facial expression. Facial expressions are very important in this dance. The dancer narrates tales from the epics and interprets them in Malayalam. The dance consists of the gestures and postures derived from Natya Sastra. In this performance, the performer has to embarrass the watchers. Humor is required to achieve this task. The dance is also a comedy act. The performance begins a prayer after temple. The performer has a great freedom so that he can amuse the audience with the performance.

It is a theme based dance. Themes are based on Lord Krishna. In addition to that this dance themes are also based from the ancient epics stories such as he Ramayana and The Mahabharatha, these stories are available in the Sanskrit Language.

The instruments used during the performance include Mizhavu which is a huge drum and cymbals. The mizhavu is played by a male person who belongs to Nambiyar caste and the cymbals are played by the women. Verses are also sung during the performance.

The attire for the dance performance consists of a colourful costume and different types of headgear. He has a black moustache with his trousseau smeared with sandalwood paste and red dots all over the body. The artists also apply special makeup. The headgear resembles snake's hood, to symbolise the narration by Anantha, the thousand headed serpent.

The dance is a solo performance and is mostly performed by the males. Sometimes they are presented by the Nangiyar women. This is called as Nangiyar Koothu.

Padma Shree Mani Madhava Chakyar is considered as the greatest Koothu and Kutiyattam artist of modern times. He brought Koothu and Kudiyattam outside temples by performing it outside for common people.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Charkula: A popular dance of Braj region

Charkula is one of the most popular and a traditional folk dance of Uttarpradesh. It is popular in Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. Due to its ultimate popularity it is compared with Kathak one of the eight classical dance forms of India. Braj region has a dense population of the Hindus so this dance is popular among the Brahman Community of the Villages. It is especially performed on the third day after Holi.

There are some mythological stories related to this dance. The origin belongs to the Krishna era. This dance celebrates the happy victory over Indra by Krishna and the cowherd community of Braj.  The story describes that Lord Krishna raised the mountain Govardhan on his little finger and saved the life of the villagers living there. Second story goes like this. It states that when Radha was born her mother ran outside with Charkula or oil-lamps on her head to deliver the new to the whole village. These facts make it an ancient dance form.

During the dance performance the women dancer balance pyramid. It is multi tiered .The tiers can range from6 to 8. Each tier carries a specific number of lamps depending on the total counts of lamp. The total lamps can range from 51 to 108. These lamps are called Charkula, which is from where the dance derives its name. Due to the load on the head of the dancer the movements are limited. The dancer cannot bend her body, nor can she move her neck. In spite of these limitations an expert dancer can dance. In addition to that she can glide and bend her body. These actions make it one most spectacular dance performance to watch. The performance can range from 15 minutes to 3 hours.  A group performance can have a minimum of five to a maximum of fifty dancers.

The dancers wear a colorful skirt which reach down to their ankles and equally emboried blouses which makes the dramatic dance performance visually attractive.

The music consists of a popular tune known as Rasia which is very popular in Braj region of Uttar Pradesh.People here beleive that it is the song which belongs to Lord Krishna. It is the symbol of love. It is accompanied by the beats of a drum. The music department is in the hand of male singers and musicians.

This visually attractive, dramatic dance is performed on festive occasions. In addition to that the dance reflects the lifestyle and beliefs of the people.

Singhi Chham: Folk Dance of the Bhutias of Sikkim

Singhi Chham is a folk dance which is also known as Loin Dance is very popular in the Indian state of Assam. It is especially associated with the Bhutias of Sikkim. It is mostly performed in the month of September to show their gratitude towards the third highest peak Kanchenjunga.  This mountain range looks like a white loin in the snowy season which guards the state form unwanted hazards. This magnificent dance is also a representation of their culture. This is an ancient dance form which originated about two and a half centuries ago.

There are two artists needed to perform this dance. They have to get inside the costume of the lion. One artist is at the front part. It is the head of the lion. Second is at the back.  The legs of the dancer positioned on the front become the two forelegs of the lion and the two legs of the dancer positioned at the back form the hind legs. In addition to that they have to wear a costume that weighs approximately eighteen kilograms.  There is also a ring master. This dance is only performed by the male artists. The faces of the artist are not displayed during the performance so it is also known as masked lion dance. Usually two to four lions are used during the performance. Each dummy lion is made of white fur and the face is blue in colour.

This dance is a challenge for the artists because they have to perform many different types of movements during the performance. They have to sit, at another instant they have to jump, next they have to turn around and move in a circle. These movements require a lot of co-ordination between the two artists. They have to spend long hours during the dance rehearsals.  It takes two to three months to become an expert of the dance.

The musicians play instruments like yangjey (which looks like a santoor), cymbal and gna (drum). Sometimes only a drum is used for the music during the whole performance.

The musicians and the ringmaster wear colourful costumes which include three robes, one on top of the other, a special boot and a cap.

The sikkimese people believe that if one sights the animal, it brings good luck. This dance represents the cultural aspect and faith of the people living in this state.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Post Thank You e-card: A feature to show your gratitude towards your guests

The preparation of an event starts much before the actual event. This includes preparation of the guest list and then sending the invitation to them. Same is true with an e-invitation also. The difference is that for an invitation you have to go to the shop and for e-invitation everything which include the selection of invitation designs and it customization all is a finger tips away.

The invitation is sent and the day for the actual event comes. Everything goes according to your plan. The guests enjoyed at your event and their presence made it a memorable one. When they left they thanked you for inviting them. Now it is your turn to return the favour back. You can achieve it by sending them a thank you e-card.  Let’s get familiar how we can achieve it.

Before we start sending the thank you e-card we have to follow some rules. First rule say that we can send it after the event date. I mean to say after the event occurred. Second rule say that you can send it to the guests who have responded yes to your invitation. You can find it on the invitation detailed page under the “Yes” label. Hurrah now we know the rules. They are simple and anybody can follow it.

Once the event date is over you are ready for the process. Click on the “Past Event” link. It will display all the past events. Click on the name of the invitation. It will take you the detailed invitation page. Here you would find a link “Post Thank you e-card”. You have to click on it. It will take you to the thank you e-card design page. Here you have to select a design from the several designs. This is the first step which is the customization of your e-card.

When you are finished with customization you have to click on the “Select” button. It will divert you to the page. On this page you would find the guest list populated automatically. These are the guest who have responded “yes” to your invitation. In addition to that you can write a personalized message for the guests. In addition to that you can add the more guests from the automatically populated list. Furthermore you can delete the guests or add guest whom you think came but didn’t get time to reply to you invitation. You are done and you are a click away before it is delivered to the inbox of your guests.

Any guesses what is the last step? It simple and those who have guessed it right is the clicking on the send button.

Ghumura: An ancient folk dance of Kalahandi

Ghumura is a folk dance which originated in Kalahandi district which is situated in Orrisa. It gets its name from a home appliance. It is the bowl of soil is called Ghum. U stands for Lord Shiva and Ra is the description of sound. It is a pot which is used by the women to store water. Some say that it is a tribal dance because the clothes worn by the performers resembles to the tribal living there. There is another group who things that it is a classical dance because it bears some resemblance with other classical dance forms of India.

The are many historical and Archaeological aspects which supports the origin of the dance form. As per the description found in Mahabharata, Ghumura was being used by both Gods and Goddesses as a musical instrument during war. Ghumura was a war music of Ravana, the king of Lanka. Chandi Puran describes that Goddess Durga asked the Gods to lend their weapons to Kill the evil demon king Mahisasur. Per-historic period cave painting discovered from Gudahandi of Kalahandi and Yogi Matha of Nuapada district that looks like Ghumura proves that this dance form existed at the time.

This dance form has male participation and domination. It is a group dance which is heroic in nature. The dancers dress themselves into tribal outfits. In the early days it was used to excite the soldiers during the war. While performing, the Ghumura dancers and singers of each group used to ask very complicated question related to socio-economic and political problems to their competent opposite group through the medium of the songs. This gave birth to the contemporary form of Ghumura-Ladhei or Badi-Ghumura in Kalahandi, which is very meaningful, attractive and enchanting too.

Specialty of Ghumura dance is that in this folk form the same artist is the performer on the stage and he himself is the dancer as well as the instrument player. No backstage accompanying instrument players are needed in Ghumura dance. The whole group of persons on the platform themselves create the melody.

The dance needs playing of the instrument Ghumura with both the hands throughout the performance. Ghumura instrument was formed by combination of a portion of Dambaru, a musical instrument of Lord Siva, and Veena of goddess Saraswati. Sometimes a flute is also added to produce an enhanced melody. In these days a singer is also added.

This dance form has earned a lot of name and fame in the recent time.  The dancer have also shown their skills abroad.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Cheraw dance: An extraordinary dance with great precision and skill

Cheraw dance is one of the oldest performed in the state of Mizoram. It is the most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizos. It reflects the culture of the people habitant in this part of India. People believe that this can has a foreign origin because the ancestors came from far east Aisa and later became the permanent citizen of this place. In addition to that some people believe that this dance came into existence in early 1st century A.D.

These dances are performed on certain festivals, marriages or any other occasions. In earlier days, the dance was performed to ensure a safe passage for the departed souls of mothers who died at childbirth, so that she may enter the abode safely. Nowadays, Cheraw dance is performed on any occasion. It is also performed on the occasion of Buhza Aih which means bumper harvest by an individual family.

One of the peculiar features of the dance is that bamboo sticks are used during the performance. That’s why it is also known as the Bamboo Dance. Both men and women participate in the performance.  The men have the duty of holding and tapping the bamboo sticks on the ground. They are sitting on the ground in horizontals lines. The women dancers step alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of flat bamboos. The dance moves and the stepping have different variations.  The stepping is an intimation of the movements of birds and the swaying of trees.

This dance form requires great precision and timing that why it is performed by a few selected girls having extraordinary skills. It is organised in an open space. A dozen of participants can be involved in a single performance. A large gathering gets together to watch this skilful dance form. On many occasion this dance is performed in moonlit nights.

Gongs and drums are used to escort the dance. The music of these instruments makes this dance majestic to watch. The tapping of the bamboo sticks are synchronized with the music of the instruments.

As it is one of the most colourful dances the female dancers wear Thihna, Vakiria, Kawrchei and Puanchei. These costume come in different patterns and colours. The costumes enhances the joy of watching this natural dance form.