Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saurashtra's dance forms


A form of dance which is supposed to belong to Kutch and Suarashtra is performed all over Gujarat. The rasa traditions are as old as the Puranic period. In various parts of the country, Rasa are danced in different manners. The main feature of Rasa is dancing in a circle by men and woman, to the accompaniment of musical instruments and keeping time either by clapping or beating of two sticks. The number of dancers go from 8,16, 32 up to 64 couples, who also sing the song. There are three varieties of Rasaka described.

Danda Rasaka-Rasa dance where Danda or sticks are used.

Mandala or Tala Rasaka-Rasa dance where clapping is used.

Lata Rasaka-Rasa dance where dancers cling to each other and dance like a creeper to a tree.

Most of the art traditions of Gujarat trace their origin to the mythological times of Lord Krishna. He is said to have been an exponent of art of dancing. Raas Nritya is a form of dance performed by lord Krishna with Gopikas. The Dandia variety of the Raas Nritya of Gujarat is generally performed by a group of youthful persons, both males and females, who move in circles to measured steps, beating time with small sticks (called dandia) singing to the accompaniment of Dhol, Cymbals, Zanz, flute or Shehnai. When the time beat is given by the clapping of palms and performed males or femals, it is called Garbi.

The Gof variety of the raas is an intricate performance wherein the performers holding coloured strings attached to a top, move in circles weaving and unweaving different patterns.

The Mers of Saurashtra are known for their folk dance called the Mer Raas. White shepherds perform what is called the Gher Raas. The Gheria Raas is a dance performed by the agriculturists of south Gujarat.

All these dance forms preserved by hundreds of years, though not having any contact with their homeland by Tamil Nadu Sourashtra community's people migraters from Saurashtra.  A small variation in dance name is found comparing with above name to Tamil Nadu's Sourashtra language.

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