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In the gondhal, an attempt to commune with the divine: Unravelling the origins of Maharashtra's folk art form
Life

In the gondhal, an attempt to commune with the divine: Unravelling the origins of Maharashtra's folk art form

The story goes that the dance form known as the ‘gondhal’ was created when the warrior-sage Parashuram, having killed and beheaded the demon Betasur, sewed the sinews of its head into its crown and fashioned a musical instrument out of it. Playing this macabre instrument, Parashuram danced to thunderous, alarming rhythms, in praise of his mother, the Goddess Renuka.

Mangalagaur: In Shravan, women perform dances that celebrate their everyday lives, foster community
Life

Mangalagaur: In Shravan, women perform dances that celebrate their everyday lives, foster community

Tests of strength and stamina, there are over 50 varieties of short, swift mangalagaur dances, performed to rhyming couplets and often executed without any accompanying music.

Lavani's lost glory: As art form's 'vulgarity' was condemned, its complexity, social messaging were ignored
Life

Lavani's lost glory: As art form's 'vulgarity' was condemned, its complexity, social messaging were ignored

Beautiful and mesmerising, with a reputation for being notorious, the charms of the lavani were lost in the latter half of the 20th century; the artistes and the dance were deemed unworthy of refined audiences and condemned for portraying the sensuous alone. Yet, lavani — in its most earnest form — not only explored love, beauty and pleasure, but also delivered social messages.

In the rhythmic movements of the warkari-kirtan, Vithoba's devotees seek a way to commune with the divine
Life

In the rhythmic movements of the warkari-kirtan, Vithoba's devotees seek a way to commune with the divine

Over time, and from the unwavering faith of the warkari cult, has emerged the folk dance of the wari — the dindi, or warkari-kirtan.

In the tarpa, the Warli, Malhar Koli and Bhil tribes find a reflection of — and way to celebrate — their natural environments
Life

In the tarpa, the Warli, Malhar Koli and Bhil tribes find a reflection of — and way to celebrate — their natural environments

Warlis, Malhar Kolis and on occasion, the Bhil tribes of Maharashtra, usher in bountiful harvests, festivals and marriages by dancing to the high-pitched tunes of a tarpa.