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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.

Local women 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 nagara.  

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.


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