Maanch is a lyrical folk drama and a form of operatic ballet that is very popular in Malwa in Madhya Pradesh. "Maanch" means the stage or place of performance and as an indigenous & distinct folk-form. The presentation style & technique of the Maanch, its various thematic elements, & suitable music and gaudy costumes all contribute in making this play a unique one.
Gaur Maria Dance
Gaur Maria dance is one of the important dances of Bison Horn Marias of Abhujmaria plateau of Bastar in Madhya Pradesh. This is a very beautiful and joyful dance and is basically performed as an invocation on the occasion of marriages.
In the month of Aghan, the villagers go to the adjoining villages to perform the Saila Dance. The group of Saila Dancers goes to each house and performs this dance. Young boys from the plains of Chhattisgarh perform, in order to have great enthusiasm & spirit after the post-harvest time. Saila in its simplest form is also performed as the Dussehra dance that is always performed by the Baigas before festival of Diwali. The Saila dance is a stick-dance that is popular in many regions of the state, among the people of Sarguja, Chhindwara and Baitul districts. But in these places, Danda Nach or Dandar Pate is known as Saila. Saila dance can be performed in number of ways. Some of them are named as the Baithiki Saila, the Artari Saila, the Thadi Saila, the Chamka Kunda Saila, the Chakramar Saila (lizard's dance) and the Shikari Saila. Each form of variation is based on a certain theme and distinctive feature as its own identity.
The dancers have small sticks in their hand and this stick is struck, next to the stick of the person who is dancing near to him. They move in circles in clockwise direction, and then they turn around and move anti-clockwise. The "Mandar" gives the beat to the dancers. When the beat becomes fast, the dancers also move faster. The sticks are once hit against each other, when the arms are stretched upwards and then when the arms come down. Hence, the Saila dance is performed with many variations in dancing style & pattern. Sometimes the dancers stand together, forming a circle. Here, each one stands on one leg and takes support by holding on to the man in front. Then they all dance together, or sometimes, they pair off or go around in a single or double line, climbing each other's back. The climax in the performance of Saila is the great Snake dance.
Out of all the Saila songs, the one song, which the people refrain from singing, is the monotonous Nanare nana, since it is usually sung in a progressive mode and it leads to a highly vulgar conclusion. The whole movement of this dance is rhythmic and the sounds of the sticks blend into the beat of the drums. As the drum beats faster, the dance becomes vigorous. The men wear Ghunghroos on the ankles and also tie the tail feathers of the peacock on their back. The people dancing are given paddy by the villagers, which they take back home then in the evening, the entire community rejoice and eat and drink together.
Raut Nacha is a dance form performed by Yadava; a particular caste and creed as they are in a perpetual faith to have been the descendents of Lord Krishna as their amorous dance form acts as a symbol of worship to Krishna. The dance form thrives to foreshadow the enthusiasm and fervour is the element of this particular dance and is also united the different tribal of the State. They perform the dance at the time of 'dev udhni ekadashi'. Myth has it that that it is time of awakening of Gods after brief rest according to Hindu panchanga (calendar). The dance is a close resemblance of Krishna's dance or rasa dance.
Charkula dance is a dramatic dance performance that is visually attractive. The dance owes its birth to Lord Krishna era. In the performance of Charkula, veiled women balance a large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramid on their heads and dance in various steps. The wooden pyramid is lighted with 108 oil lamps. These women dance on the 'Rasiya' songs of Lord Krishna.
Charkula dance is especially performed on the third day after the Holi festival, which is the Dooj, since this was the day, when Radha, was born. According to a famous legend, Radha's grandmother ran out of the house, keeping the Charkula on her head to announce the birth of Radha. Since then, Charkula has formed as a popular dance form of Brajbhoomi and here; it is performed during various festivals. However, there is another myth related to the dance form. It is believed that the Charkula dance celebrates the happy victory over Lord Indra by Krishna and the cowherd community of Braj. This dance is considered to be a symbol of happiness and joyful rapture. Dancers enact the Govardhan Leela by putting 50 Kilogram Charkula on their head during the performance. Rasiya is a rich tradition of folk-songs of the Braj area that describe the love of the divine couple Radha and Shri Krishna.
Lava is another dance form of India. The verve, the enthusiasm, the rhythm and above all the very beat of India finds an expressive declaration amidst the folk music of India, which has somewhat, redefined the term "bliss". Lavani is indeed one of the most important folk dance forms of India. Originated in the arid region of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Lavani enlaced with its color, dream and effervescence is somewhat like an escape to the land of beauty and love.
The word Lavani did originate from the term "Lavanya" which means beauty. Quite ideally therefore beauty, splendor, magnificence coupled with the aura of sheer feminism laces this classical folk dance form whilst offering it a colossal identity of its own. Although the exact date of the origin of Lavani is still vague, however it is said that in the long gone era this dance form did originate as a typical form of entertainment and also as a boost to the tired soldier. It was much later Lavani became a well-accepted and well-celebrated folk dance form of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
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