FOLK DANCES OF MADHYA PRADESH
Madhya Pradesh offers a wide variety of folk dances that involve several local rituals. All traditional dances are somewhere associated to the religious faith of people of this region. Madhya Pradesh government organizes a festival “Lokranjan” which acts as a platform for various tribes to showcase their religious and cultural heritage in form of folkdance or music. We have documented some of the famous folk dances of Madhya Pradesh:
Matki is a community dance of Malwa region predominantly performed by women on numerous occasions. The musical instrument involved is a drum which is called “Dhol”. The dancer rhythmically dances to the beats of dhol making graceful hand movements which creates a stunning effect and is a treat to watch. The women performing the dance are called “Jhela” who are usually clad in the traditional Malwi wardrobe and has a veil covering their face. They also have an earthen pot called “Matki” which they balance on their head while dancing.
Raai evolved as a classical dance of this region but later lost its aesthetical value and became a folk dance of this region. Raai refers to the mustard seed and as the seeds swings around when put in a saucer, the dancers also swing on the beats of drums. The dance becomes more and more intense with time as both the dancer and the drummer compete to outdo one another.
Naurata is a popular folk dance performed by unmarried girls of Bundelkhand region as they seek help from god for a good husband and conjugal bliss. The dance coincides with the festivities of Navratri where the whole country pay their tribute and revere goddess Durga. The celebrations include women decorating their home with intricate Rangoli designs made from lime and numerous other colors.
Popular on the occasions of the birth, marriage and festivals in the Bundelkhand region is Badhai. Men and women dance vigorously to the tunes of accompanying musical instruments. The dancers accentuate supple and acrobats like movements and their colorful attire leaves the viewer amazed.
The major traditional dances of Bharia tribe of Madhya Pradesh are Bharam, Setam, Saila and Ahirai. The most popular dance form of Bharia tribe is performed on the occasion of marriage. Drums and timki (a pair of brass metal platter) are the two musical instruments used as accompaniment to this group dance performance. The group of musicians whirl in a circle and with the rising crescendo of the drums and timki, the pace of hand movements and the steps of the dancers within the circle reaches a climax after which the beating of drums, the rhythmical sound of the timki and the swaying of the dancers stop. After a brief stop, the performers continue to entertain and the dance continues all through the night.
Bhagoria festival is celebrated during the Dussehra time. The festival witnesses several traditional folk dances and songs of baiga tribe of this region. One of the predominant folk dance is Dadariya. The festival has a unique tradition where all the eligible males of Baiga tribe visit their neighboring villages. They are welcomed there by young girls of that village with songs and dadariya dance. During their interaction, the girls of this community have the opportunity to select the male of her choice and marry him. The atmosphere is lively and one is swept away by the nuances and rhythm of this land.
The other form of dance popular among the Baiga community is Pardhauni. Performed mainly to welcome and entertain bridegroom’s party, the dance is primarily to convey happiness and the spirit of the auspicious occasion.