The uncomplicated movement of the body in harmony with the rhythm of some tune or a song is called folk dance.
Unlike classical dance, folk dance does not follow strict rhythm or beat. These folk dances of the common folk are the artistic expression of their lives. The tradition of folk dance has continued for centuries which is in tune with colorful costumes and area-specific traditions on occasions of folk festivals, fairs, local rituals etc.
The folk dances are influenced by geographical locations, social customs etc.
The famous connoisseur of art and the founder of Lok Kala Mandal of Udaipur, Devi Lal Samar, has divided the folk dances of Rajasthan in three types on the basis of the geographical features of the regions of their prevalence — Hilly, Rajasthani, and dances of Eastern plains.
Some important dances of Rajasthan
- Gair Dance: Gair is the famous folk dance of Mewar and Barmer region. Men with wooden sticks in their hands dance in circles on the occasion of Holi. As this dance is performed in circles, it is called “gair '' and the dancers are called ‘gairiye’. The main instruments used are dhol, bankiya and thali.
- Gindar Dance: This famous dance of Shekhawati region continues for a week during days of Holi. This dance is purely for men. The instruments used in this dance are dhol, tambourine, and chang.
- Kachhi Ghodi Dance: This is the commercial folk dance of the regions of Shekhawati and Kuchaman,Parbatsar, Deedwana etc. This dance is performed on the occasion of marriages.
- Chang Dance: This dance is performed by men during the festival of Holi in Shekhawati region. In this dance, every man dances in a circle playing chang.
- Dandiya Dance: This is the famous dance of Marwar which is performed after Holi. A group of 20-25 men dance in a circle with dandiyas in their hands. Men sing lok-khayal and Holi songs in laya or rhythm. These songs are primarily in praise of Bhaironji of Badhali.
- Agni Dance: The famous Agni dance of Jasanathi cult originated in Katriyasar village of Bikaner. The disciples of the dancers of Jasanathi sect are the people of Jat siddh tribe. Only men take part in this dance. The pile of embers is called ‘Dhuna’. The dancers dance in front of their gurus and while chanting ‘fatefate’ they step onto the ‘Dhuna’.
- Ghudla: Ghudla is the famous folk dance of Jodhpur. This dance is performed only by women. In this dance, women carry perforated pots on their heads with burning lamps inside. This pot is called ghudla.
- Dhol Dance: Dhol dance is a famous folk dance of Jalore. This dance is performed by the men of Dholi and Bhil castes on the occasion of weddings. Former Chief Minister Mr. Jayanarayan Vyas helped these professional dancers to earn recognition and acclaim. In this dance 4-5 drums are played simultaneously. The drummer starts playing the dhol in ‘thaakna’ style.
- Bum Dance: This is a famous folk dance of Bharatpur and Alwar region. This dance is performed by men to celebrate the coming of the new harvest in the month of Fagun. In this dance, a big nagada called bum is played while standing with two thick sticks.
- Ghoomar: Famous as the dance of the Rajasthan state, Ghoomar is a popular dance performed by women on auspicious occasions, festivals etc. The circumference of the lehenga which spreads in a circular form is called ‘ghumm’.
- Garba: Gujarat and Rajasthan’s cultural fusion can be seen in Garba. This dance is very popular in Dungarpur and Banswara.
- Valar Dance: This dance performed by men and women is a famous dance of the Garasia tribe of the Sirohi region. No instrument is used in this slow-paced dance. This dance is performed in semi circles.
- Bhawai Dance: Among the commercial folk dances of Rajasthan, ‘Bhawai’ is very famous for its extraordinary lithe body movements, exceptional body balance and variations of rhythm. In the Udaipur region, this dance is performed in many names and themes — Shankarya, Surdas, Boti, Dhokri, Bikaji and Dhola-Maru. The famous artistes of this dance form are Roop Singh Shekhawat, Dayaram and Tara Sharma.
- Terah Taali Dance: Kamad caste sing the glory of Baba Ramdev ji through this Tera taali dance. The men play tanpura, cymbals and chautara. Mangi bai and Lakshman Das are the prominent dancers of this dance form.
Dances of various Communities and Tribes
- Bheel tribes: Neja , Ramani, War dance, Hathimana, Ghoomra,
- Garasiya tribe: Ghoomar, Gaur, Jawara, Moriya, Loor, Kood, Mandal,
- Kalbeliyas: Indoni, Panihari, Bagadiya, Shankariya, Chakri
- Gurjars: Chari and Jhoomar dances
- Banjaras: fish dance is performed by the .
- Kanjars: Chakri, Dhakad
- Sahariya tribe: Hunting
- Kathaudi tribe: Mavliya