Dandiya is a traditional folk dance form that originated in the Indian state of Gujarat.
It is usually during the Navratri festival, which is a nine-night celebration of the Hindu goddess Durga.
The dance also involves the use of small wooden sticks or dandiyas.
Here are some key features of the Dandiya dance
Formation of Dandiya dance
Dandiya is usually in a circular formation, with dancers moving in a coordinated manner around a central point.
The attire of the Dandiya dance
The dancers also typically wear colorful traditional costumes, such as Chania choli for women and kediyu for men.
However, These outfits are often embellished with mirror work and intricate embroidery.
Dancers hold a pair of wooden sticks called dandiyas in their hands.
These sticks are traditionally decorated with colorful ribbons or bells.
Rhythmic patterns in Dandiya dance
Dandiya dance is also accompanied by energetic music characterized by fast-paced beats.
Basically, The dancers strike their dandiyas against each other in rhythm with the music, creating a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
Dancers also perform a variety of footwork patterns, including intricate steps, leaps, and turns. The footwork is synchronized with the beats of the music and the movements of the other dancers.
Dandiya can be performed in pairs or groups.
So, Partners face each other and move in coordinated steps and patterns.
There is also often an element of playful interaction and flirtation between the dancers.
Garba and Raas
Dandiya is close to another popular dance form Garba.
Garba also involves clapping and circular movements without the use of dandiyas.
Raas is a more vigorous and faster version of Dandiya that incorporates complex footwork and energetic movements.
Etymology of Dandiya dance
The term “Dandiya” is derived from the word “dand” or “dandi,” which means a stick or rod in Hindi and Gujarati.
The dance form gets its name from the use of small wooden sticks called “dandiyas” during the performance.
The etymology of the Dandiya dance can be traced back to its historical roots and cultural significance.
Dandiya is to have evolved from the ancient martial art form known as “Raas” or “Raas Leela.”
Raas Leela is with Lord Krishna, a Hindu deity who is often depicted playing the flute and engaging in joyful dances with the gopis (cowherd girls) in the region of Vrindavan.
Over time, the Raas dance transformed into the Dandiya dance, which became popular during the Navratri festival.
Navratri is a celebration dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga and involves nine nights of festivities and worship.
The dance form became an integral part of the Navratri celebrations in Gujarat.
The use of dandiyas in the dance can be seen as a representation of traditional weapons.
Basically, used by Lord Krishna in his Raas Leela performances.
The sticks are to create rhythmic patterns and add a dynamic element to the dance.
Forms of Raas in dandiya dance
In the context of Dandiya dance, there are two primary forms of Raas that are commonly performed: Dandiya Raas and Garba Raas. These forms are often used interchangeably and are integral parts of the overall Dandiya dance experience. Here’s a brief explanation of each form:
Dandiya Raas is a fast-paced and energetic form of Dandiya dance that involves the use of dandiyas (wooden sticks). In this form, dancers form pairs and hold a pair of dandiyas in their hands. The dancers strike their dandiyas against their partner’s dandiyas, following the rhythmic beats of the music. The footwork involves quick steps, spins, and movements coordinated with the partner. The dance is performed in circular formations, and the dancers move in sync with the music. Dandiya Raas is known for its lively and playful nature, often involving flirtatious interactions between the dancers.
Garba Raas is another form of Dandiya dance that is performed without the use of dandiyas. It is characterized by circular movements, clapping, and graceful hand gestures. In Garba Raas, dancers form concentric circles or semi-circles, with everyone moving in the same direction. The steps and movements are more fluid and graceful compared to Dandiya Raas. The focus in Garba Raas is on footwork, hand movements, and rhythmic clapping, creating an enchanting and joyful ambiance. Garba Raas is often performed before Dandiya Raas and sets the tone for the energetic and lively dance that follows.
Both Dandiya Raas and Garba Raas are performed during the Navratri festival in Gujarat and are integral parts of the traditional celebrations. They are usually accompanied by live music featuring traditional instruments such as the dhol (drum), Tasha (cymbals), and flute. The combination of vibrant costumes, rhythmic music, and synchronized movements makes Dandiya Raas and Garba Raas a dynamic and captivating dance experience.
Origin of Dandiya dance
The origin of the Dandiya dance can be traced back to the state of Gujarat in western India. The dance form has its roots in the ancient folk traditions and cultural practices of the region.
The origins of Dandiya can be attributed to the ancient dance form known as Raas or Raas Leela, which is associated with Lord Krishna, a Hindu deity. Raas Leela is a divine dance performed by Lord Krishna and the gopis (cowherd girls) in Vrindavan, a region closely associated with Lord Krishna’s life and legends. The Raas Leela depicts the playful and joyous interactions between Krishna and the gopis, and it often involves the use of sticks or dandiyas.
Over time, the Raas dance evolved and transformed into the Dandiya dance as a form of entertainment and celebration during the Navratri festival. Navratri is a nine-night festival dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga, and it is celebrated with fervor in Gujarat. Dandiya dance became an integral part of the Navratri celebrations in the region, serving as a form of worship, celebration, and community gathering.
The use of dandiyas in the Dandiya dance can be seen as a representation of the traditional weapons used by Lord Krishna in his Raas Leela performances. The sticks add a rhythmic element and create an energetic atmosphere during the dance.
Throughout the years, Dandiya dance has evolved, incorporating elements from various folk and cultural traditions of Gujarat. It has become a popular and widely celebrated dance form not only in Gujarat but also in other parts of India and among the Indian diaspora around the world.
Steps in Dandiya dance
Dandiya dance consists of a variety of steps and movements that are performed in sync with the music and the rhythm of the dandiyas.
Here are some common steps in the Dandiya dance
The basic step in Dandiya involves a simple two-step movement. Start by stepping to the right with your right foot, then bring your left foot to meet your right foot. Repeat the same steps to the left side, stepping with the left foot first and bringing the right foot to meet it. This forms the foundation for many other Dandiya dance steps.
The Dodhiyu step is a more intricate footwork pattern. Begin with the basic step, stepping to the right with your right foot. Then, instead of bringing your left foot to meet your right foot, cross your left foot over your right foot, shifting your weight onto the left foot. Next, step to the left with your left foot and cross your right foot over your left foot, shifting your weight onto the right foot. Repeat these crossing steps in a smooth and continuous motion.
Dandiya dance is often performed in a circular formation. Dancers move in a circular pattern around a central point. While performing the basic or Dodhiyu steps, maintain the circular formation, moving clockwise or counterclockwise as directed by the music or the leader of the dance.
Dandiya dance often involves interactions and exchanges between dance partners. These interactions can be playful, expressive, and sometimes even flirtatious. Partners can face each other, perform coordinated steps together, and engage in hand gestures or clapping patterns.
Hand movements play an important role in the Dandiya dance. While holding the dandiyas, dancers can perform various hand gestures such as wrist rotations, circles, and waves. These hand movements add grace and flair to the dance and are often synchronized with the footwork and music.
The dandiyas are an essential element of Dandiya dance. Dancers hold a pair of dandiyas, one in each hand. They strike their dandiyas together, with their partner’s dandiyas, and create rhythmic patterns. The dandiyas can be struck against each other in different ways, such as clashing, tapping, or spinning, adding a percussive element to the dance.
Remember, Dandiya dance is best learned by observing and practicing with experienced dancers or under the guidance of a dance instructor. The steps and movements may vary depending on the specific style, region, or choreography of the Dandiya dance being performed.
Best dancer of Dandiya dance
Dandiya dance is a highly participatory and inclusive form of dance, and it is subjective to determine the “best” dancer. Dandiya dance is more about the collective energy, enthusiasm, and joy of the participants rather than individual skill or expertise.
That being said, there are many talented dancers and performers who excel in Dandiya dance and have contributed to popularizing the art form. These individuals may be professional dancers, choreographers, or enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to mastering Dandiya dance.
In the realm of Dandiya dance competitions or performances, judges and audiences may evaluate dancers based on factors such as coordination, footwork, rhythm, grace, stage presence, expressions, and overall performance. However, it is important to note that dance is a form of artistic expression, and personal preferences and interpretations can vary.
Ultimately, the “best” dancer in Dandiya dance is subjective and can vary based on individual opinions, styles, and regional preferences. What matters most is the spirit of celebration, participation, and the joy that the dancers bring to the dance floor, creating an engaging and vibrant atmosphere for everyone involved.
The attire of the Dandiya dance
The attire for the Dandiya dance is an essential aspect that adds color, vibrancy, and cultural significance to the dance form. Here’s a description of the typical attire worn during the Dandiya dance:
Chaniya Choli (for Women)
Chaniya Choli is the traditional outfit for women in the Dandiya dance. It consists of a flared skirt known as a “chaniya” and a fitted blouse called a “choli.” The chaniya is usually adorned with vibrant and colorful embroidery, mirrorwork, sequins, and other decorative elements. It can be long or short, depending on personal preference. The choli is often designed with intricate patterns, embellishments, and backless or deep necklines. It is accompanied by a dupatta (scarf) that is draped over the shoulder or used for various dance movements.
Kediyu (for Men)
Men typically wear a traditional outfit called “kediyu” for the Dandiya dance. Kediyu consists of a short, pleated jacket-like garment that reaches the waist, paired with a dhoti (loose cloth draped around the legs). The kediyu is usually adorned with embroidery, mirror work, and other embellishments, similar to the chaniya worn by women. Men may also wear turbans or colorful headgear as part of their attire.
Both men and women wear traditional jewelry to enhance their attire and complete the Dandiya dance look. Women often wear necklaces, earrings, bangles, and anklets made of silver, gold, or imitation jewelry. These jewelry pieces are typically adorned with beads, stones, and intricate designs. Men may wear accessories like turbans, necklaces, and bracelets.
For Dandiya, women often wear traditional footwear such as mojris (embroidered flat shoes) or juttis (traditional Rajasthani shoes). These shoes are comfortable, and stylish, and complement the overall attire. Men typically wear traditional leather shoes or sandals.
It’s important to note that the attire for the Dandiya dance can vary based on personal preferences, regional customs, and the specific event or occasion. However, the general theme revolves around vibrant colors, intricate embroidery, mirror work, and traditional elements that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Gujarat and the spirit of the Navratri festival.
Musical instrument use in Dandiya dance
Dandiya dance is accompanied by lively and energetic music that sets the rhythm and enhances the overall experience. Several musical instruments are commonly used during dance performances. Here are some of the key instruments:
The dhol is also a traditional Indian drum that plays a central role in the dance. It is a two-sided drum, with one side played with a stick and the other side played with a hand. The dhol provides the rhythmic foundation for the dance and sets the energetic beats that dancers follow.
The dholak is also another percussion instrument that is common. It is a smaller, barrel-shaped drum played with the hands. The dholak produces a rich, resonant sound and complements the beats of the dhol.
The Tasha is also a pair of metal cymbals or hand cymbals that are struck together to create a metallic sound. They add a distinct, sharp percussive element to the music and provide accents to the rhythm of the dance.
The manjira, also known as hand cymbals or finger cymbals, are small metallic percussion instruments that are played by clashing them together. They produce a tinkling sound and are often used to accompany the footwork and hand movements in dance.
The flute, a wind instrument, is occasionally used in dance music. It adds melodic and lyrical elements to the music and complements the rhythmic beats provided by the drums and percussion instruments.
In addition to these instruments, modern dance performances may incorporate electronic instruments, keyboards, and other contemporary musical elements to create a fusion of traditional and contemporary sounds.
The combination of these musical instruments creates a vibrant and lively atmosphere during the Dandiya , encouraging dancers to move and groove to the rhythm while enjoying the festive spirit of the celebration.
Dandiya dance is not only a cultural expression but also a social gathering where people come together to celebrate and enjoy the festive spirit.
It has gained popularity beyond Gujarat and is now performed in various parts of India and even in other countries with a significant Indian diaspora.
Today, this has also evolved into a vibrant and joyful folk dance form that is not only performed during Navratri but also at weddings, cultural events, and other festive occasions.
So, It has become a symbol of Gujarati culture and is widely recognized and enjoyed by people from various backgrounds and communities.