Regional Dance Forms
Folk dances of Rajasthan has been classified according
to the three natural division of the region - hilly, desert and eastern
plain including Shekhawati.
The Hilly Region
The hilly areas inhabited by Bhils and Meenas are known for community
songs and dances. Songs and dance are an integral part of their life.
The dances are participated in by both men and women without any reservation.
The dances of the Bhils and Meenas are many and are performed on festive
days and during marriages.
Ghoomar is a circular dance in which men and women dance
to the rhythm of the song they sing. The dance has no co-ordination with
musical instruments. The tune is easy and the movements of the limbs become
very agile and impressive as the dance advances.
The Ger is a community dance performed on the occasion
of Holi Festival. It is only a men's dance conducted to the beating
of a big drum with brass plates or Thalis. The dance becomes exciting
as its tempo increases and the dancers quicken their movements, beating
the sticks held in their hands.
The Ger and the Ghoomar are combined in another dance
performed on Holi. It is called the Festival Ghoomar and is very
spirited. Men and women come in their best attire and join this dance
in gay, abandon making a very pleasing sight.
Many dances are performed on the occasion of marriages. The gait of the
women in all these dances, is the characteristic feature of the Bhil dancing
of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The body is held relaxed, the
torso is used as one unit, but there are some curved movements demanding
the use of upper chest and lower waist separately. While the tempo is
fast, there is little use of strong energy. There is hardly any instrumental
musical accompaniment; only the song of the women forms the constant base
of the dance.
Jhoria is a marriage dance. The Jhoria literally means
a wooden stick. The men form one circle, the women another one and they
perform a vivacious dance to the accompaniment of the dhol, shehnai and
Among the Bhils and Meenas the farewell to the bride
after marriage is an important occasion for dance. The members of
the bridegroom's party hold swords and dance all the way to the ringing
of thalis and the madal. The women on the bride's side reciprocate holding
baskets and broomsticks in their hands.
Neja is a musical dance game of the Meenas in Kherwara
and Dungarpur. It is usually performed on the third day after Holi. Women
erect a big pillar and tie a coconut to its top. Holding small sticks
and whips, they guard it against the men-folk who try to climb it to take
away the coconut. The women dancers drive them away by striking their
sticks and beating their whips on their backs.