Folk-dances of nomadic tribes
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.