(Last Updated on : 09/01/2015)
Folk Dances of Maharashtra
have evolved mainly from the rural areas. Several folk dances in this state are performed during the time of festivals or other occasions, representing the merry-making and culture of Maharashtra. The state has been famous for its vibrant music and the folk forms like Tamasha
, Koli dance
and Dindi, which are a true reflection of the society. Some of the other folk dances of Maharashtra state are Povadas, Lavani
, Kala, Dhangari Gaja, etc.
Religious Folk Dances of Maharashtra
Kala and Dindi are the religious folk dances of this state which are performed with a lot of enthusiasm. Kala is a form of folk dance which describes the jovial mood of Lord Krishna
. This folk dance of Maharashtra includes in its performance a pot which symbolizes fertility. The most prominent attraction of this dance form is the rhythm and the beat. Another religious folk dance of this state is Dindi. This dance is performed mainly during the day of Ekadashi
in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. The dance form also Dindi portrays the jovial playful state of Lord Krishna. The dancers dance with the rhythm of the drum beat by encircling the musicians, and thus creating a fantastic musical background.
Other Folk Dances of Maharashtra
Apart from the religious folk dances, there are various other folk dances which are performed in the state of Maharashtra. Some of the most famous folk dances in this state are Koli, Lavani, Tamasha, Povadas and Dhangari Gaja.
Koli Folk Dance is another folk dance of Maharashtra which got its name from fisher folk of the state called 'Kolis'. The Kolis are known for their lively dances and a separate identity. The dances of these fishermen possess elements taken from their occupation, which is fishing. Koli is performed in this state by women and men, who divide themselves in two groups. They depict the boat rowing movement in the Koli dance. The Koli dancers also present the wave movements and the net casting movement as if catching fish.
One of the well-known dance forms in the state of Maharashtra is Tamasha. It is among the major forms of Maharashtra folk theater. 'Tamasha' is a Persian word which means entertainment or fun. It is a blend of different influences. There are several scholars who believe that Tamasha is inspired by two forms of drama in Sanskrit; the 'Bhana' and the 'Prahsana'. Tamasha developed in the sixteenth century. The love songs called 'Lavanis' form the heart of this dance form and are thus well-known. The musical instruments which are used in this dance form are 'Tuntuni', 'Dholki drum', 'Manjeera' cymbals, 'Harmonium', 'Halgi', the 'Lejim', 'Daf', 'Kade' and 'Ghunghroos'. Tamasha is linked with two Maharashtra communities which are Mahar and Kolhati.
Lavani is a mixture of traditional dance and song, which is performed mainly to the beats of 'Dholak'; an instrument like a drum. This folk dance is executed by beautiful women wearing sarees of nine-yards. The women whirl on the quivering beats of conventional music. The word 'Lavani' originated from 'Lavanya', which means beauty. Previously, this folk dance dealt with various subjects like religion, politics, society, romance, etc. Lavani dance served as a morale booster and entertainment to the exhausted soldiers in the eighteenth and the nineteenth century battle of the Marathas. A number of renowned Marathi poets including Ramjoshi, Prabhakar, Honaji Bala, etc. added to the fame and reputation of Lavani folk dance.
Dhangari Gaja is one of the most famous folk dances performed in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is performed by the shepherds of the Solapur District
who are also known as Dhangar
. These dancers earn their livelihood by rearing goat and sheep. The poetry of these shepherds is inspired usually by the surrounding evergreen trees. Their poetry is in a pattern which is known as 'Ovi' which is comprised of couplets. The poems also possess the tales regarding the birth of 'Biruba', their God, in very basic and simple lines. The Dhangari Gaja folk dance is executed in order to please the Shepherd's God and to get his blessings. The Dhangar dancers wear traditional Marathi dresses like Pheta, Angarkha
and a colourful handkerchief. The groups of Dhangar dancers surround the players of drums and move with the rhythm.
Povadas form a part of Marathi ballads, depicting the Marathi leader Shri Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's life. Shivaji
holds a respectable position in each and every Maharashtrian's heart. Through the Povadas, people remember Shivaji, a famous hero of his period.
The Indian state of Maharashtra is well-known for its lively music and a number of folk dances which make the state a treasury-house of great culture. Some of the major social entertainments in this state are during various religious festivals. The folk dances performed during religious festivals represent the great culture of the state.