Origin of Pandwani Dance
The origin of Pandwani is yet to be discovered. However, some of the leading artists believe that it might be as old as the Mahabharata itself. During that period, very few people were capable of reading so the stories were passed on generation after generation.
Performance of Pandwani Dance
Pandwani is narrated in a very lively form, almost constructing the scenes in the minds of the audience. The artists in the Pandwani narration consist of a lead artist and some supporting singers and musicians.
The lead artist narrates one episode after another from the epic in a very forceful manner. He enacts the characters in the scenes to produce a more realistic effect. Occasionally, he also breaks out into a dance movement. Gradually, the story develops and the performance becomes more intense.
In between the performance, the lead singer continuously interacts with the accompanying singers, who ask questions and give commentary. The performance can last for several hours on a single episode of Mahabharata. It can be observed that ultimately what begins as a simple story narration turns into a full-fledged ballad.
Musical Instruments of Pandwani Dance
Pandwani is accompanied by musical instruments such as Harmonium, Tabla, Dholka, and Majira.
Styles of Pandwani Dance
There are two styles of narration in Pandwani; Vedamati and Kapalik. In the Vedamati style, the lead artist narrates in a simple manner by sitting on the floor throughout the performance. The Kapalika style is livelier, where the narrator actually enacts the scenes and characters.
People who Popularised Pandwani Dance
Teejan Bai has in actuality led to the immense popularity of this dance form. Bai was the first woman to start this. She gave her first performance at the age of 13 in a neighbouring village called Durg. She sang in the Kapalik shaili of 'Pandavani', a first time for a woman.
The other artists who popularised this art form are Ritu Verma, Jhaduram Devagan and Puneram Nishad.