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Different Types of Folk and Tribal Dances in India

India is a country of multiple casts, creeds, complexion, and religions. Every part of the country has people of different culture and living style. All have their own value. India being a country of diverse culture, there is unique quality in all cultures, appreciated by the world.

In terms of Indian tribal and folk dances, they are simplly performed to express their pleasure and happiness. Some of the popular dances of Indian states are Kathakkali, Kovlam, Kuchipudi, Garba, Namgen, Bayalata, Charkula, Parvi Nach, Dhol Cholom, Goti Pua and many others. These folk dances are performed on special occasion in order to celebrate the birth of a child, arrival of seasons, a wedding and festivals. Below is brief information about top folk and tribal dances of India.


Kathakali is a Malayalam dance, performed in Kerala. This is a stylized classical Indian dance-drama. This is popular worldwide because of the striking make-up of characters, detailed gestures and elaborate costumes. While performing this dance, characters present well-defined body movements in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion.


Kuchipudi is the famous dance of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It's, like Kathakkali, a classical Indian dance. Why it has been named Kuchipudi has a popular belief. Actually, Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district. This district is the border area of Bay of Bengal and also the surname of the resident Brahmins. Practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name.


Garba is traditionally performed in Gujarat during Navratri festival. This dance is performed by women. While dancing, women do a circular pattern of movement and rhythmic clapping.


The Namagen dance is a folk dance of Himachal Pradesh, performed in the month of September for celebrating the autumnal hues. To perform this dance, women wear large wooden costumes and stud richly with ornaments of silver. Mostly men and women dance together.


People of Karnataka performs Bayalata dance, which is a form of Yakshagana. This particular dance features stories from Indian epic poetry and the Puranas. The meaning of Bayalata is ‘open theater drama'. It marks the end of harvest season. Popularly, the theme for this dance is the story of Koti and Cennayya, which has a strong importance for the people of Tulu Nadu.


This is a famous dance of the Braj region of the Indian state of Utter Pradesh. Braj region is the land of Krishna and his consort Radha. This dance is performed by veiled women in a group. While dancing, they balance large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramids on their heads, alight with 108 oil lamps. They dance to the strains of 'rasiya' - songs of Krishna. Charkula is mainly performed on the third day after Holi. This is the day when Radha was born.


All these dances are very simple to learn. You just need to practice minimum of steps or movement. There are some dances men and women perform completely, while there are others in which they perform together. In some of the occasions, dancers sing the songs themselves, while being accompanied by artists on the instruments. Every different folk dance has its own specific costume. 

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