The dances of Rajasthan are so inviting and engaging that they are bound to induce you to tap a foot or two along with the dancers. Rajasthani dances are essentially folk dances tracing their origin to rural customs and traditions. What is more interesting is that keeping alive the numerous dance forms are not the professional dancers but the ordinary rural men and women of Rajasthan. The dancers practicing these dance forms are, till date, religiously following the age old traditions and that's where, the beauty of these dances lies. Apart from the simple expressions and daring movements that add beauty to the dances, there are the vibrant and colorful costumes adorned by the dancers. For the dancers of Rajasthan, the Thar Desert is the centre stage which enhances the beauty of the dances at the backdrop of the setting sun. Some of the folk dances of Rajasthan are illustrated herein.
This ancient dance form is performed by women of the Kalbelia community who, by profession, are snake charmers and trade in snake venom. This ancient dance form has dance movements similar to the movements of the serpents and hence, even the costumes are black colored. Interestingly, women dance on the music produced by the 'Been', an instrument used to charm the snakes. This is an extremely sensuous dance form which completely enthralls the onlookers.
Traditionally, out of bound of men, this dance form was performed solely by Rajput women on auspicious occasions. Only the women perform it with their faces covered by a veil. They dance while singing traditional songs and perform circular movements gracefully and charmingly.
This traditional dance form requires lots of skill and patience as this dance is performed with pots on the head and lamps in the hand of the dancers. In such a state, the dancers perform several flexible and graceful movements of the body. This dance is performed on gay occasions, like marriage or birth of a child.
Kacchi-Ghodi, or the dummy horse dance, originated from the bandit regions of Shekhawati. The dancers are elaborately dressed, and so are the dummy horses, which perform sword fighting sequences with utmost vigor. A ballad singer usually sings the tales of chivalrous men. This dance form is generally performed on gay occasions.
This is an extremely difficult dance to perform which is carried out by the Banjara community. The dance involves breathtaking fire stunts wherein the dancers perform by holding fire rods in their hands and filling up their mouths with kerosene. The fire rods are also moved on their heads and legs by the dancers.
Terah Taal (Thirteen Beat) Dance
The Terah Taal dance is a beautiful musical dance in which the dancers place manjeeras (little brass discs) on their waist, legs, hands and forehead, at least thirteen places on their body. This dance is performed as a kind of ritual to please Baba Ramdeo, a local deity of Rajasthan.
Several other folk dances performed by the local tribesmen of Rajasthan include Drum dance, Jhoria, Matka-bhawai, Kathputli (puppet dance), Raika etc. which are executed on particular occasions and are associated with a particular tribe.