Folk Dances


Madhya Pradesh like any other part of India offers a panorama of folk dances that are performed before deities and are related to various rituals. All traditional dances, throughout all ages have been a pious act of faith. 'Lokranjan' - an annual dance festival at Khajuraho organised by Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department and Madhya Pradesh Adivasi Lok Kala Academy is a platform to present a number of popular folk and tribal dance forms of Madhya Pradesh and other parts of India.




When the lively and spontaneous dance of the Bundelkhand region takes centre stage, the atmosphere comes alive and one is swept away by the rhythm of Madhya Pradesh. Mridang beater initiates the pace of movements giving the dance a vigorous character. The dance per formance is intermittently dotted with prose or poetic dialogues called Swang. It is a unique synthesis of a dancer's choreographed graceful movements accentuated by the melody and music of the accompanying folk lore and the instrument With the increasing beat, the pace increases and swaying of dancers body leaves the viewers spellbound. This dance form is not particular to any season or occasion, but is considered to be an art of enjoyment and entertainment.




The Rai dance of Baghelkhand is performed by a man disguised as a woman to the accompaniment of the musical instruments dholak and nagara. It is performed by the women of the Ahir community of Baghelkhand and this is particular to the occasion of birth of a child in Vaishya community. The dancers dressed in their traditional attire and bejewelled sway gently to convey the spirit of the auspicious occasion.



This is a community dance of the Malwa, Matki is performed by the women on various occasions. The dancers move rhythmically to the beating of a drum, locally called Matki. Initiated by a lone woman locally called Jhela, others join dressed intheir traditional Malwi wardrobe and with a veil covering their faces. The graceful hand movements and steps of the participants create a stunning effect.




This dance is performed mainly during the nine days of Gangaur festival, the associated rituals have a number of dance and song sequences to it. Dance form performed on the occasion of Gangaur in Nimar region is a devotional form in honour of their deity Ranubai and Dhaniyer Suryadev.



Popular on the occasions of the birth, marriage and festivals in the Bundelkhand region is Badhai. Men and women dance vigorously to the tunes of accompanying musical instruments . The dancers accentuate supple and acrobats like movements and their colourful attire leaves the viewers simply amazed.



Baredi dance is performed during the period starting the festival of Diwali till the day of Poornima. One of Madhya Pradesh's most stunning performances, the dancers in a group of colourfully dressed 8-10 young men are choreographed by a head male performer. Usually, a two line devotional poetry form called Diwari proceeds the dance performance.



This dance has a special significance to the unmarried girls in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. Naurata dance is performed by the would be brides to invoke the God seeking a good match and conjugal bliss. The nine day festivities during the period of navratri are marked by creating Naurata intricated designs outside the house made from lime and various colours.





The major traditional dances of Bharia tribe of Madhya Pradesh are Bharam, Setam, Saila and Ahirai. The most popular dance form of Bharia tribe is performed on the occasion of marriage. Drums and timki (a pair of brass metal platter) are the two musical instruments used as accompaniment to this group dance performance. The group of musicians whirl in a circle and with the rising crescendo of the drums and timki, the pace of hand movements and the steps of the dancers within the circle reaches a climax after which the beating of drums, the rhythmical sound of the timki and the swaying of the dancers stop. After a brief stop, the performers continue to entertain and the dance continues all through the night.



Quaint rhythms conjure up the tribal cultural identity of the Baiga tribe of Madhya Pradesh through Dussehra and Dadariya dance. The start of Dussehra festival resounds with the gaeity of traditional folk songs and dances of Baiga. On the occasion of Dussehra festival eligible a festival eligible males of the Baiga community from one village visit another village, where they are traditionally welcomed by the village young girls with their singing and performance of Dadariya dance. They have an interesting custom which allows a Baiga girl to select the young male of her choice from the visiting lot and marry him. This song and dance form seems to be inspired by this custom. The atmosphere comes alive and one is swept away by the nuances and rhythm of this land .

The other form of dance popular among the Baiga community is Pardhauni. Performed mainly to welcome and entertain bridegroom's party, the dance is primarily to convey happiness and the spirit of the auspicious occasion.

Some other well known tribal forms of dances are Karma and Saili (Gonds), Bhagoria (Bhils), Lehangi (Saharias) and Thaapti (Kokru). Other cultural groups have some or the other dance forms of their own.


Content Courtesy : MP Madhyam.