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Rajasthan Folk Dances:

Agni Nritya (Fire Dance )| Garasiya Dance | Ghoomar Dance | Chang Dhamal Kathputli Dance || Gair Ghoomar || Gair Dance || Chakri Dance


Agni Nritya (Fire Dance): Now performed by just a few Bhopas in Bikaner district, this ritual is associated with members of the Jasnath sect from the Sidh caste. The ritual fire dance is enacted during the Jasnath fairs or on special demand to cast away negative energy from someone's house. Dressed in white clothes and saffron colored turbans, the ritual starts with slow chanting by the priests to the rhythmic beat of the nagara (large single sided drum) and striking of Manjiras. While this is going on a pyre of wood is constructed and lit. As the wood burns to embers, the tempo of chanting land drumming is increased to produce a state of religious fervor. Once the wood is reduced to glowing red embers, the priests form a line and start to dance across the burning coals. Treating the embers as blessed gifts (prasaad) from their God, some hold embers in the mouth and offer them to the spectators.

Garasiya Dance: from the extreme south of Rajasthan, and known for one of the most colorful visually thrilling dances forms of the region, the Garasiya's are the tribal community spread across some twenty four villages near Abu Road. The distinctive dance is performed after Holi in celebration of their folk Kul Devi. Without vocal accompaniment, it has strong rhythm, and is danced by both men and women dressed in traditional ornaments, clothes and masks.

Ghoomar: Ghoomar has become known as the single most representative dance of Rajasthan. The embodiment of the grace, elegance, and beauty associated with the women of this region, the dancers move, spin and sway a single, circular file in time to an eight-beat keharwa, accompanied by  a song. Spinning alternately in clockwise and anticlockwise direction, the memento increases as the dance develops and often culminates in the dancers separating from the circle into pairs, taking each others  hands and spinning as fast as they can in the way children enjoy. Eleven variations of Ghoomar have been documented in the past. Ghoomar as seen today is mostly a sophisticated form evolved for and by the women of the "Rajwaaras" or erstwhile seats of feudal power and now danced at weddings by middle and upper class women. 

Chang Dhamal: Danced by men only, the group forms a single circular file, each man carrying a Dhap or chang (a single-sided large tambourine-like drum), excepting those who dress in female attire, and one who plays the flute. The dancers sing and rhythmically crouch, Walk and strike various poses with their instrument. The singing stops for while, the flute player plays his instrument, and the Chang provide rhythm. Then the round of singing and movement is resumed. 

Khathputli: Puppet plays based on popular legends are performed by skilled puppeteers. Displaying his skills in making the puppets act and dance, the puppeteer is accompanied by a woman, usually his wife, who plays the Dholak or drum and sings the balled.

Gair Ghoomar: this is one of the many dance-forms of the Bhill tribals. Performed during Holi Festival, this is among a few performance where both men and women dance together.

Gair: Another Holi dance but performed only by men. This becomes Dandia Gair in Jodhpur and Geendad in Shekhawati. 

Chakri: The word "Chakri" is derived from "chakkar" - rotation in Hindi-is actually the Raai dance of the Beriyas of Madhya Pradesh, also performed in the adjoining areas of Chhipa Barod etc. of District Baran, Rajasthan, by their kin, the Kanjras. The dance involves much vigorous but elementary movement and intermittent singing supported by robust rhythmic accompaniment on the Dholak by a male performer.

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