Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Madhya Pradesh


Folk-dances of nomadic tribes

Some of the indigenous folk-dances of Madhya Pradesh are by nomadic tribes like the Banjara and the Kanjar of Bhopal commissionary. 

In this area, one comes across a dance form known as Lehangi.  In the middle of the rainy season when nature comes to bloom the Lehangi is danced by young men over the beat of sticks which they hold in their hands.  The Kanjars are professional acrobats. They dance with full poise and acrobatic tricks.

On the Rakhi festival, the Banjaras of Nimad dance the Lehangi. When the festival of Dussehra approaches they start dancing Garbi and Dandia. Banjara dancers have a remarkable similarity in their mode. The men accompany the women either with songs or instruments. The Banjara women are heavily decked with silver jewellery and wrapped in colourful clothes of contrasting embroidery and tiny inset of scintillating mirrors. In the Lota dance, with all the ornaments and heavy clothes, they balance big-size metal pots on their heads as they swing in a liner or a circular formation.

Matki dance

The tableland of Malwa has comparatively very few dances. On wedding occasions, the countryside women of this part perform the 'Matki' dance with an earthen pot balanced on the head, the Matki is mostly danced solo. Sometimes just for merriment a couple of women join the main dancer who usually dances with a veil on her face.  The two other variations of the Matki are the Aada and Khada Nach.

Phulpati Dance

The Phulpati is another dance, exclusively for unmarried girls. It is a dance of the semi-rural womenfolk.  The agriculturist class of Malwa is not very much inclined to any dance by nature.  During the Holi festival the revelers cannot restrain themselves from coming out with some sort of dance movements to the uneven manipulation of drums.

Grida Dance

When rabi crops sway in the fields in full bloom, the parties from different villages join together and perform the Grida dance. It continues from morning till evening. The host village returns the visit next year by going to the village of their guests of the preceding year. The dance has three distinct phases: (1) Sela - The feet movements are slow and comparatively rigid. (2) Selalarki - The feet movements become brisker and faster. (3) Selabhadoni  - With the acceleration of the tempo, every limb of the body begins to sway in mood of exaltation.

The Attire

The men wear white muslin turbans or occasionally silk ones. The turban is adorned with a coronet of peacock feather stems. Down to the waist they wear a close white Saluka or blouse, below a dhoti of small width coming down to the knees, the end of which hangs loosely behind. On their necks hang necklaces of silver or gold coins or corals. Their hands are adorned with silver bangles and their feet with heavy brass or iron, boat-shaped ornaments which tinkle to the timing of the rhythm. In their right hand they hold a staff, in their left a white kerchief or peacock feathers.

The costumes of the musicians are different from those of the dancers. They put on a shirt or a jacket and coloured turbans; they do not use cowries.

The women wear a coloured dhoti, wound close round the body down to the knees, one end of which goes up across their breasts to their backs. The knot of their hair is adorned with a coronet of palm or other leaves behind which hangs a net of corals. From their necks also hangs a chain of coins or corals. Besides the necklaces of coins or corals they wear silver hansali also. In their ears, they wear heavy silver ear-rings from which hang small slender silver chains. Besides, they wear bahunta (armlets) on their arms, silver bangles on their wrists and perry or todar round their ankles. While dancing, in their right hand they hold thiski (a clapper) and in their left a coloured kerchief.