Indian folk dances are creation of different socio-economic set up and traditions. An integral part of the social environment, they are performed on different occasion, which might be the arrival of a new season, a particular festival, the birth of a child or even a wedding. Indian folk dances are full of energy and vitality and are performed to express joy. Each form of these dances has a specific costume, rhythm and movements attached to it. The costumes are mostly colorful in nature, with extensive jewels and designs. Some of the folk dances in India are performed separately by men and women, while others have men and women dancing together. Mostly, the dancers sing themselves and are accompanied by artists with instruments. One important part of Indian folk dances includes those of north India. Given below are the folk dances of the main northern regions of India.
North Indian Folk Dances
Jammu & Kashmir
Dumhal: The dance of the Kashmiris is called as
'Dumhal'. It is performed by dancers wearing long colorful robes and
tall conical caps, studded with beads and shells. It is mainly the men
folk of Wattal who perform this dance, that too on specific occasions.
While dancing, the performers sing too, with drums to assist their
lyrics. The party of performers moves in a ritual manner and digs a
banner into the ground, at a set location. The dance begins with the men
dancing around this banner.
Hikat: Hikat is performed by women and comes across as
a modification of a game played by children. Forming pairs, the
participants extend their arms to the front, gripping each other's
wrists. With their body inclined back, they go round and round at the
same spot. Namagen: Namagen is another folk dance that is specific to
the state of Himachal Pradesh. It mainly celebrates the autumnal hue, in
the month of September.
Hurka Baul: Hurka Baul is performed during paddy and
maize cultivation, in different fields, by turns. Its name has been
derived from the terms 'hurka', the drum which constitutes the only
musical accompaniment to the dance, and 'baul', the song. The singer
narrates the story of battles and heroic deeds, while the dancers enter
from two opposite sides and enact the stories, in a series of crisp
movements. The farmers form two rows and move backwards, in unison,
while responding to the tunes of the song and the rhythm of the dancers.
Chholiya: A famous dance of Kumaon region, Chholiya is
mainly performed during marriages. As the groom's procession proceeds to
the bride's house, male dancers, armed with swords and shields, dance
Bhangra: One of the most popular dances of North
India, performed during the festival of Baisakhi, is the Bhangra. Among
the most virile and captivating dances of India, it is undertaken by men
and includes tricks and acrobatic feats. The drummer, usually in the
centre of the circle, is surrounded by men dressed in lungis and
Gidha: The dance performed by the women folk of Punjab
is called the Gidha. In this dance form, a woman or a pair of women
dances at a time, while the others surround them and clap in rhythm. The
dance is mainly performed during the festival of Teeyan, to welcome the
Dhamyal: The folk dance of Haryana is known as the
'Dhamyal' or the 'Duph'. The dance can be performed by men alone as well
as with women. The Duph, after which the dance form is anmed, is a
circular drum, played nimbly by the male dancers, as they dance.