DANDIYA RAAS- GUJARAT

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Dandiya Dance, Gujarat, India

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Dedicated to the “Rasa Lila” (i.e. a play) performed by Lord Krishna and Radha is a traditional dance form developed from India known as Dandiya Rasa. This dance style dedicated to “Radha-Krishna” has originated from Rajasthan and Gujarat. In addition, this dance form similar to the Garba is performed mainly during the “Navratri” festival on an annual basis. Furthermore, it is said that this dance style was created actually using the fight between “Goddess Durga and a demon called Mahisshahsura” as a template. Apart from India this dance form is also popular with the expatriate Gujarati community residing in countries such as United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.

a. History/Origin of Dandiya Raas:

The origin of this dance form (which comprises of a pair of sticks) is actually closely linked to a mythological story involving Goddess Durga. According to this story Durga once fought a demon called Mahisshahsura using a sword. It was the body movements used by the Goddess during the fight that apparently then used as a template to develop this dance form. Furthermore, the pair of sticks used in this dance form is said to represent the very sword that was used by Durga during her battle with the demon.

b. Costumes used in the Dandiya Raas:

Like the Garba, this dance form too can be performed by both male and female, and hence the costume used will vary accordingly. The variations in costume between a man and woman are as follows

1. For a Male:

The attire essentially includes specially made kedia (i.e. traditional Gujarati male dress) and turbans i.e. headgear, although this could vary according to the region.

2. For a female:

The costume includes an extremely colourful ghagra and choli, bandhini dupattas, and jewellery.

c. Music used in the Dandiya Raas:

The music used while performing the dandiya raas is essentially heavily influenced by “drum beats”. Thus the musical instruments used in this dance form includes the dhol (i.e. a type of drum), and is supported by a few percussion instruments (similar to the drum) such as tabla, dholak etc.

d. Training availability and the dance technique involved in Dandiya Raas

In terms of technique, the movement involved in this dance form is similar to that of the “Garba”. The only difference being that Dandiya involves the use of sticks along with rapid complex circular movements. In addition, while performing this dance form caution is also advised since it involves the use of sticks. As for training, there are schools available in many parts of the country that provide for dandiya training. Furthermore, since technology has increased over the years online dandiya courses are also available for those interested in learning this dance from the comfort of their home.

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