“Dance is the joy of movement and the heart of life”
Dance is a form of art that makes your body move and your soul sing. There are various dance forms and each has a story to tell. Different cultures, religion and traditions has given birth to unique and beautiful dance forms. These dance forms differ from one another not only in their styles but also in the way they are expressed. Dance is an ancient invention and it has been evolving ever since. It won’t be too shocking to find out that there are more than 5000 types of dance forms currently existing on earth. Since dance is always evolving, certain dance forms are being locked away for good in the memories of people instead of being performed.
Some of these endangered and on the brink of extinction dance forms are→
This folk dance form originated from Maharashtrians and was usually performed by the local theatre groups. This form of dance involves dancing, singing and acting in a suggestive manner. It is traditionally related to Kolhati and Malhar communities. The men play the harmonium, Dholak and Tabla and the women perform the Lavani dance, wearing Paithani saris, Ghungroos, make up and flowers on their head.
Cham is an ancient Tibetian masked and costumed dance form that has roots in Buddhism. According to a legend, the Cham dance tradition was started by Guru Padmasambhava in the late 8th CE when the king of Tibet, Trishong Detsen, called Guru Padmasambhava to get rid of evil spirits that did not allow to build the Samye monastery and the revered Guru performed the dance ritual as per. The same ritual over the period of time became the elaborate Cham Dance, a practice specific to the sect of Mahayana Buddhism.
Domni is a West Bengal folk dance form which is mostly based on drama where the dancers are called Nachari/Lachari. This is a play dance where everyday life pieces are performed with a touch of satire. The roles of family members, friends and greedy money lenders are very prominent. A domni is always performed after a customary prayer. Harmonium, dholak and flute are the key instruments. Sadly with changes in popular taste and culture, this dance form is going downhill towards extinction.
Kalbelia once known as the pride of Rajasthan is slowly losing its place in people’s heart. This dance form is performed by a tribe of the same name. It is an integral part of their culture and tradition. It is performed by both men and women. However its popularity is slowly falling and it is now just an art that you can see happening in some luxury hotels in Rajasthan.
Morris dance is an English Folk dance dating back to 1448. Its costume usually consists of wearing a hat and bells around their legs. Although this dance form was insanely popular back in the days in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and so on, its popularity isn’t the same as before. Soon enough it will take its place on the list of endangered dance forms.
Ojha is a religious ancient form of dance performed in the Barak valley of Assam. It was performed by a solo male dancer wearing a long skirt and kurta with a Chamar/broom in hand. It is performed in the month of Shravan, during the puja of Goddess ‘Bishari’. The only reason for its extinction is the lack of interest and participation from the younger generation thus making it another beautiful art of dance that people are never likely going to know about.
These were a few dance forms that most of us had no idea about and the list goes on. With new cultures and lifestyle, dance is at its prime of evolution but that shouldn’t happen at the cost of our ancient dance forms going extinct that best captured our historical culture.