Nautanki dance usually begins around midnight and carries on till daybreak of next day. Nautanki was the only form of entertainment prevalent in India, before the advent of television and Indian movies. A characteristic of Nautanki is that it is always been an open and secular dramatic form till date. All elements of Nautanki dance, music, are used with an unlimited scope for improvisation is today explored with their relevance in contemporary themes. Nautanki has developed according to the changing needs of the large masses of people who live in the villages of India. Apart from these two places, the other places where Nautanki took root and grew are Hathras and Kanpur.
Nautanki is performed on stage that can be courtyards or maidens. The music used for this performance has the elements of classical as well as folk. In fact, it has a pattern of its own, which is consistent for dramas. The poetry is written in various metrical patterns and sung as per the convention and requirements of current performance. The verses used are simple, direct and it appeals towards human emotions. To avoid monotonous treatment of the verses, many new ideas are also used; like the introduction of a short verse called kada between the three stanzas.
Ramlila is considered as a dance form having spiritual connectivity; thus a performance of Ramlila creates a festive atmosphere with peaceful waves. Ramlila is generally performed during the festival Dussehra in Uttar Pradesh. It is celebrated for ten days that ends on Dussehra festival, which falls on the tenth day of the bright half of Ashvin month coming in September-October.
This festival is celebrated for the victory of goodness represented by Lord Rama over Ravana representing evil forces. At the time of the performance of the Ramlila, the Ramayana is constantly recited with its verses accompanied by dance and pleasant music. It is an amazing mixture of dance, music, mime, Abhinaya and poetry that is represented in front of enthusiastic and religious audiences. The original art form of Ramlila was unique but with the time, many local variations of Ramlila are added in different parts of the Indian State. These changes are seen primarily with changes in terms of dialogues and music of dance. This art form is performed almost in all villages during the Dussehra festival. Ramlila performance, apart from being rich in the dancing steps is also rich in its costumes, jewellery, masks, headgear, make-up and decoration.
Karyala is most probably derived from karola or karaula, i.e. 'teasing' or 'having fun'. This is a prominent folk form of Himachal Pradesh. There is no clear research on its origin. Some of the scholars claim for it continuity from classical Sanskrit theatre, while others believe it began in the eighteenth century. It is normally performed around the Dussehra festival, i.e. in October-November. Traditionally it used to play continuously for sixteen nights, but now it can be presented on any number of days and any occasion, like village fairs or on invitation by individuals as part of a promise to the gods for fulfilment of a wish.
The open-air acting space measures about 3 m by 4 m. Lamps are usually fixed on tripods made of forked branches i.e. placed on two sides and aghiyana. These are stack of lighted sticks. These are used to keep people warm and also as an object of worship. Drums announce the start of the performance. Like most rural forms it goes on overnight, and consists of several small plays imitating and ridiculing various characters that villagers come across in everyday life. The first two obligatory acts are those of Chandravali and the Bairagi. The former opens any Karyala event, serving the function of consecrating the arena. The latter contains humorous yet uplifting exchanges between different types of mendicants, some knowledgeable and some fraudulent. The other scenes follow, full of fun, satire, buffoonery, and double entendre dialogue in verse.
They are often unscripted, passed on orally, and kept alive through the performers' improvisatory skill and ready wit. The lines, even if spontaneous, rhyme poetically, though they have very little musical and dance accompaniment. The music is based on familiar regional melodies and rhythms, and dance occurs only in one or two specific episodes like the Chandravali, otherwise only in interludes between sequences. The chief instruments in use comprise the dhol, nagara drums, naphiri, and karnal. Naphiri and karnal, both are wind instruments. Karyala's strength is its close link to the lives of the people. Apart from the original fifteen-odd scenarios, several new ones have been written on contemporary local issues, which remain popular as well.
Dhadi is something folk art where wandering minstrels of rural Punjab recite heroic poems and even family history in verse. Individual Dhadis are usually attached to their specific castes or clans belonging to the same caste. The Muslims among them are repositories of Sufi music and sing Sufiana Kalam i.e. spiritual verse during their nightly performances. At special festivals they become charismatic, larger-than-life personae, delivering the Sufi kissas i.e. narratives of Hir-Ranjha i.e. 'Hir and Ranjha', Sassi-Punnu i.e. 'Sassi and Punnu', Sohni-Mahiwal i.e. 'Sohni and Mahiwal' with their rich range of musical instruments.
The legendary singing of Dhadis has passed into darkness now. Most seniors are left wondering how to arrange for their next meal or next show. They willingly sing any song as long as they can survive in present-day consumerist society. An occasional Sangeet Natak Akademi performance helps them to retain their connection with their traditional status. The rest of the year they are hired either by political parties or construction companies. The younger generation of Dhadis has gone seeking greener pastures in more paying professions.