Folk Dances of Rajasthan
Ghumar and Jhumar are the main dances of Rajasthan. These dances are performed on important occasions and festivals. On the festival of Holi, Deepawali and Gangaur the atmosphere reverberates with Ghumar dance. In Ghumar, dance performing women wear 'Lahanga' and 'Odhni' and carry large plates full of lighted earthen lamps while moving their feet. In this dance, women move in a circle and because of this movement it is called Ghumar. Like Ghumar in Rajasthan, 'Bhawai' dance is also practised widely. 'Bhawai' is a dance of a sub-caste of Rajasthan. This is a dance of the men folk and is based upon a narrative. The narrative is particularly accompanied with song and dance. The entire dance is organized on the basis of local folklores and the performers of the dance keep on moving from place to place.
Apart from Ghumar and Jhumar, 'Dandia' 'Rasiya', 'Dhol' 'Dance of Matkas (pitchers)', 'Dance of swords', 'Dance of Snake Charmers' and 'Dances of Kalbelias' are also important dances of Rajasthan.
THE KUCCHI GHODI
Free dancing full of zest, with rows of dancers waving colourful pennants makes the Bam Rasiya of the Braj region spectacular. It is performed at Holi. The 'Kucchhi Ghodi' or dummy horse dance is performed on festive occasions, by men who are as colourfully attired, as are their horses.
This is basically a community dance for women and performed on auspicious occasions. The famous 'ghoomar', Rajasthan's popular dance gets its name from 'ghoomna', the graceful gyrating, which displays the spectacular colours of the flowing 'ghaghra', the long skirt of the Rajasthani women.
The 'terahtali' is a fascinating dance performed by women, while sitting. The women have 'manjeeras' (little brass discs) tied with long strings to their wrists, elbows, waists, arms and a pair in their hands as well. Their male accompanists sing and play the 'tandoora' while the women, with dexterous and fine movements, create a strong rhythm with the 'manjeeras'. For added effect, they may hold a sword between their teeth or balance pots or lighted lamps on their heads.
The dance of the kalbelia women is vigorous and graceful.
THE FIRE DANCE
An authentic fire dance is performed by the 'jasnathis' of Bikaner and Churu districts. The accompanying music rises in tempo as the dance progresses, ending with the performer dancing on brightly glowing embers, which is a breathtaking and deeply impressive sight.
The "gair" of Mewar has inner and outer circles of dancers who move diagonally or loop in and out. It is intricate and fascinating. The 'gair¿ of Jodhpur is performed in a single file and martial costumes are worn for effect. The 'geendad' of Shekhawati is similar. Sticks or swords are often used in male dances, and the Shekhawati dance has the 'daf¿ accompanying it.
This is a professional dance-form from Jalore. Five men with huge drums around their necks, some with huge cymbals accompany a dancer who holds naked sword in his mouth and performs vigorously by twirling three painted sticks.