In my previous article, I gave a detailed and nice description on the gijarati folk dance called garba. I hope you liked it. This article I am dedicating to another folk dance form which is related to garba and again coming from the state of gujarat called dandiya. It is also known as dandiya raas and is a very popular form of dance among gujarati people.
I would not be wrong to say that both garba and dandiya raas are different styles of the same dance form. As garba, dandiya is also performed during the occasion of navratri and is very joyous, colorful and energetic. The word dandiya means sticks. This dance style has derived this name because small wooden sticks are used in this dance style and are an important and integral part of the dance form.
As garba, dandiya is also performed during the occasion of navratri when Goddess Durga is worshiped with happiness and joy. Dandiya is also performed in large circles formed around the centrally lit lamp. Both men and women perform dandiya and celebrtae this festival with huge enthusiasm.
Dandiya is also performed in large open grounds where people come together to dance and celebrate. The dance steps are simple and clean without too much technique and skills involved. Basic steps are based on a four beats. Dandiya is performed in concentric circles where people are facing towards each other. You can say this is a partner dance but every four beat, you move to the next person in your opposite circle.
The dance is performed in rotation and revolution around the centrally lit lamp. On the first two beats you give a small hit with your sticks on the sticks of the person in front of you. On the third beat you hit your sticks together and then again on the fourth beat you hit on your partners stick and then move to the next person.
The most important thing of this simple dance form is that you have to take care that you dont hit on the fingers of your partner or hit the person standing next to you in the circle. Care should be taken while dancing that your sticks dont fall on the ground as well. The hit or the tap on your partners sticks should be gentle enough to make a nice sound of tap.
When a large crowd of people perform dandiya along with the music, the dandiya beats or the sound made by hitting of sticks together at the same time by so many people sounds very nice. I have had a lot of fun learning and performing dandiya. I always used to go with my friends for dandiya to a nearby location around my house. We used to wait untill sunset and then wear our beautiful costumes, jewelry and makeup and then go to dance.
Dandiya is performed in large numbers and hence the music also needs to be loud enough so that everybody can hear. Hence these days, they have nice orchestra where people play nice music as well as sing live. This makes the whole experience more enjoyable and lively.