GARBA- GUJARAT

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Garba Dance, Gujarat, India

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Literally meaning “womb”, is a traditional Indian popular dance form known as “Garba. This dance form celebrated mainly during the auspicious “Navratri” festival was first developed in the state of Gujarat. According to tradition this dance form is performed around a lamp (known as Garba Deep) or picture of Goddess Durga placed in the centre. Furthermore, this dance form is performed annually on all nine nights during the Navratri festival. In addition, this dance form can be performed by both male as well as female.

a. History/origin of the Garba:

There is no real history attached to this dance form, accept the fact that it originated from Gujarat. According to Sanskrit, the word Garba literally when translated means “Womb” essentially implying “pregnancy” which indicates life. Furthermore, it is also said that this dance form is performed to give due respect to the fact that every human being possesses the divine energy of Goddess Durga in them.

b. Costume used in the Garba:

Since this dance form is performed by both men and women, the costume worn varies according to the gender, and they are as follows:

a. For males:

The men/boys usually wear a “Kafni” pyjama with a Ghagra, a short round kurta, a pagadi, bandhini dupatta, kada, and mojiris to go with it.

b. For females:

The costume worn by the women/girls is more elaborate and includes a chaniya choli, a three piece dress which includes a beautifully embroidered blouse, a skirt like bottom, a dupatta i.e. a type of a long scarf, and beautiful jewellery that include 2 or 3 necklaces, decorative bangles, waist belts, and earrings.

c. Music used in the Garba

The music used  basically comprises of “Gujarati folk songs” that revolve around stories pertaining Lord Krishna and the nine forms of Goddess Durga. The song “Sanedo” composed by popular Gujarati singer Maniraj Barot is a classic example of the ideal “Garba” song. In addition, this song is also extremely popular with the expatriate Gujarati population residing in countries such as United States of America, Canada, and United Kingdom.

d. Training availability and dance technique involved in the Garba

The dance technique that this dance form entails includes a rhythmical movement of the body bending sideways which is accompanied simultaneously by hand clapping. In terms of training there are a number of schools that have sprouted all across the state of Gujarat that provide for authentic “Garba” training.

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