The folk dances of Uttar Pradesh reflect the rich cultural heritage of the state. 

Dance dramas are mythological stories of divine characters like Lord Rama and Lord Krishna reflecting the traditional essence. 

The major folk dances of Uttar Pradesh include Raslila, Ramlila, Khayal, Nautanki, Nakal, Swang, Dadra, and Charkula dances.

List of major folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

Charkula-Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

There is a pitcher dance that is famous in Brajbhoomi. 

This dance is done by placing the wheel of the chariot on the head and placing several pitchers on it.

The wooden pyramid is illuminated with 108 oil lamps. 

Women dance to ‘Rasiya’ songs of Lord Krishna

The region’s dance form has been very popular nationally and internationally. 

In the past, on the night of Holi or the second day in the village, a woman or a man would dress up as a woman and put seven jars on her head and light a flaming lantern over them, which continued to be a chakula. 

Previously, Rasiya was sung with drums, dhap, and dhol as all the men in the village played.  

Currently, the dance is performed in a charming posture with 38 round wooden molds in the shape of bird-shaped petals, each weighing about 20 kg, placed on clay or metal pots, and  38 lanterns lit above the petals. 

All lamps are on while dancing. 

The charka dance in Umri, Rampur, and Mukhrai districts has gained fame. 

Women artists have performed here nationally and internationally. 

  Charkula dancers were invited by the Uttar Pradesh Department of Cultural Affairs, Sangeet Natak Academy, and the Department of Information to participate in programs organized in different parts of the state.

 Currently, the charkula dance is very popular due to its reputation among art connoisseurs. Artists of this dance also have the opportunity to participate in Indian festivals organized in Mauritius, Nepal, and  Germany. 

Along with Germany, the actors toured three other countries, including the Soviet Union. 


Among the bright colors of Paguni’s sweet pleasure, the brightness of the dance spreads a different aura. 

 Nautanki-Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

It is the most popular folk dance of Uttar Pradesh, whose original form is that of Vithi Natak.

 In this, folk tales are performed through dialogues, singing, and folk dance in Hathrasi and Kanpuri theatrical styles.

Nautanki consists of folklore and mythological dramas mixed with folk songs and dances. Many times, Nautanki artists come from families that have been in the profession for generations.

Dhobia Raga- Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

This is a dance of the Dhobi caste, in which one dancer becomes the washerman and the other his donkey.

Khatak Folk Dances of Uttar Pradesh


Kathak is one of the essential genres of historic Indian classical dance.
These Kathakars wandered around and communicated mythical tales thru music, dance, and songs pretty much just like the early Greek theatre.
The style evolved in the course of the Bhakti movement.
the fashion of theistic devotion developed in medieval Hinduism.
The Kathakars speak tales thru rhythmic foot actions, hand gestures, facial expressions, and eye work.
This acting artwork that includes legends from historic mythology and notable Indian epics, in particular from the existence of Lord Krishna has become pretty famous withinside the courts of North Indian kingdoms.
Three unique types of this style this is 3 gharanas (schools), which on the whole fluctuate in the emphasis given to footwork as opposed to acting, are greater well-known namely, the Jaipur gharana, the Benaras gharana, and the Lucknow gharana.

History & Evolution

The roots of this dance shape hint again at Sanskrit Hindu textual content on acting arts known as `Natya Shastra` written with the aid of using historic Indian astrologist and musicologist Bharata Muni.
It is presumed that the primary entire model of the textual content became finished between 2 hundred BCE and 2 hundred CE.
however, a few assets point out the time frame to be around 500 BCE and 500 CE.


There are kinds of Hindu costumes for woman dancers.
While the primary one consists of a sari worn in a completely unique style complimented with a choli or shirt that covers the top frame and a head headband or urhni worn in a few places, the alternative gown consists of a protracted embroidered skirt with a contrasting choli and an obvious urhni.
The costume is properly complemented with conventional jewelry, typically gold, that consists of those redecorating her hair, nose, ear, neck, and hand.
Musical anklets known as ghunghru fabricated from leather-based straps with small steel bells connected to them are wrapped in her ankles that produce rhythmic sounds even as she plays super and astonishing footwork.
Head jewelry embellishes her withinside the 2nd case. Vivid face makeup placed facilitates spotlighting her facial expressions. Hindu male Kathak dancers typically put on a silk dhoti with a silk head headband tied at the top a part of the frame which typically stays naked or can be blanketed with the aid of using an unfastened jacket. Jewellery of male dancers is pretty easy as compared to their woman opposite numbers and are typically fabricated from stone.


A Kathak overall performance might also additionally consist of a dozen classical gadgets relying greater on the impact and intensity required for a specific overall performance.
However, a few gadgets are commonly utilized in a Kathak overall performance just like the tabla that harmonizes properly with the rhythmic foot actions of the dancer and frequently imitates the sound of such footwork actions or vice-versa to create a notable jugalbandi.
A manjira is a hand cymbal and a sarangi or harmonium is also used maximum frequently.

Kajri Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

dance is one of the most popular and well-known forms of folk dance UP of India.

Kajri dance is just before the arrival of the monsoons to express joy and happiness.

History of Kajri Dance

Mirjapur district is the real birthplace of the Kajri dance.

According to a folk tale of Mirzapur, King Kantit Naresh’s daughter Kajali loved her husband very much but she could not meet her husband throughout her life.

Monsoon came still she couldn’t meet her husband.

When the separation became unbearable she started crying at the feet of the Goddess Kajmal.

These cries took the form of popular Kajri songs.

She remains alive through these songs.

The Style and Forms of Kajri Dance

Kajri dance is the accompaniment of charming ‘Jhula’ lyrics or swings songs.

The term Kajri possibly has been derived from the word Kajra, or Kohl which is a genre of semi-classical singing.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Kajri dance is precisely in two forms.

One type is on a performance platform and the other is sung by women on monsoon evenings.

The land of Uttar Pradesh experiences sizzling hot during summer and the only relief at that time is the arrival of black monsoon clouds that bring with them rain drenched with relief and great joy. To celebrate their arrival, women in the village sing songs and express joy for the upcoming monsoons bidding adieu to the scorching summer.

Costumes of Kajri Dance

The dancers usually wear a tight-fitting and short-length blouse or choli with a skirt.

These cholis are short in length and there always remains a gap between the waistband of the skirt and the edge of the choli.

They also put a dupatta over it which is tucked in the waist of the skirt and is draped around the head and shoulder.

jewelry mainly consists of bangles, anklets, earrings, necklaces, and others.

Kajri dance is in various villages and towns of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Mirzapur, Banaras, Mathura, and Prayagraj are some of the places in Uttar Pradesh where the Kajri dance is famous.


In this dance of the Awadh region, the dancers perform acrobatics by riding a raw mare and carrying a peacock (windpipe).


The female form of a sage is performed collectively by a male dancer and a male dancer dressed as a sage.

This is the dance of the Awadh region.

Rai dance

This is done by the women of Bundelkhand.

Dhuriya Samaj

It is by male dancers of the Kumhar caste of the Bundelkhand region dressed as women.

Shaira dance

It is famous in the Hamirpur, Jhansi, and Lalitpur districts of the Bundelkhand region.

This dance is performed in the rainy season by young men and women with sticks in their hands.

Farmers usually dance after harvesting their crops.

Natwari Dance

This dance, popular among the Ahirs and Yadavas of eastern Uttar Pradesh, is performed in sports postures on the rhythm of music and nakkars.

fish melody

This singing dance performed by Dhivar or Kahar caste is performed on auspicious occasions.


This dance song popular among Rajputs is performed with sword and shield.

Karma dance

It is performed jointly by men and women of Kol tribes only in the Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts of Uttar Pradesh.


The Rasleela performed in this state is known as Braj Rasleela, as it originated from the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. It is a theatrical form, which is now performed in many Indian states.

Here, the story revolves around Lord Krishna’s fascinating childhood, adolescence, and early youth, where it explores Lord Krishna’s relationship with his consort Radha.

Ram Leela

Ramlila is considered to be a popular traditional folk dance form of Uttar Pradesh. It mainly deals with the life of Lord Rama in Ramayana, who is also another incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The dance depicts the story of Lord Rama’s exile from Ayodhya, his success over Ravana, and his conversation with Sita.


It is another folk dance of Uttar Pradesh, which is popular in many other Indian states simultaneously and it started as a major folk dance in Uttar Pradesh.

Dance is performed on the birth of a baby boy in Bundelkand.

There are different genres in khayal, each named after a city, acting style, community, or author.

Some of the popular Khyals are Jaipuri Khayal, Abhinaya Khayal, Garhsp Khayal, and Ali Bakhsh Khayal, where subtlety demarcates these variations. Generally, these folk dances are mythological,

They refer to various events in the Puranas and are presented very creatively, however, they also trace the historical aspects of these events.

These performances are also marked by the presence of elements like romance, heroic deeds, feelings, beliefs, etc.


This folk dance of Uttar Pradesh is very popular and a favorite form of entertainment, as it is very enjoyable, and it subtly and sarcastically presents the unpleasant shadows cast on life.

Nakal plays all have the character of a storyteller, where the subjects are usually based on a common man. The common man is usually at the center of the play. Generally, people of Mirasi, Nakal, and Bhand communities perform this art with special skill

Swang dance

It is a type of folk drama enriched with songs. It is considered a rich performance with literary wealth.

The plot of this performance is based on the stories of great personalities; The farces of Puran Nath Jogi, Gopi Nath, and Veer Hakikat Rai are very popular.

In the farces of Purana Nath Jogi and Gopi Nath, in the farces of troop life and Kakikat Rai, the love of religion is presented by artistic skill. The popularity of this folk dance of Uttar Pradesh rests on the conversational ability of the performers.

Dadra Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

Dadra is a very popular folk dance in Uttar Pradesh. 

Mainly this dance form revolves around nuptials and sexual pleasure.

Dance has a unique style.

In this dance, the singers give playback to the artists, who are performing on stage; They lip-sync with the singers.

It is said that the theme of folk dances is also based on cultural traditions like folk songs. 

its continuation culture preservation

Karti Folk Dances of Uttar Pradesh

is the only mixed-gender dance that was more popular in the mountains than in the plains. 

  Bhangra and Jumar do not precede rituals for the deity, but in Karti, sacrifices are first made to the deity during the harvest season.

The women then lead the procession and sing songs.

As the men follow them, a circle is formed in which men and women take turns holding hands.

The accompanying songs are sentimental and tell of battles and victories, of lovers’ unions and quarrels.

Carti’s tempo is slower than that of the other two dances.

Clap your hands a lot, either singly or in pairs. 

Bhangra and Jumar do not use wind instruments, but Karti has folk shenai and other wind instruments.

Hurka Baul

Performed while cultivating crops

Narration of stories

The Hurka Baul dance is during the cultivation of paddy and maize.

The name of the dance is derived from Hurka, the drum which is the only musical accompaniment, and baul, the song.

In the Hurka Baul dance the singer narrates the story of battles and heroic deeds, while the performers enter from two opposite sides and enact the stories in a series of crisp movements.

Rasa dance- Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

Technically, the term “rasa” means rapture.

According to the Natya shastra, Rasa is a combination of the vibhaava (determinants, stimulus, or right ambiance), Anubhaava (the transitory mental status or the effective results of the excitation in the vibhaava), and vyaabhichaari bhava (birth of the derived emotion).

Rasa imparts blissful joy with a combination of abhinaya (histrionic representation) and stayed Bhaava (permanent sentiments).

Since it is felt in the form of ecstasy, it is called the Natya rasa. There can be no Rasa without Bhaava and no Bhaava without Rasa. Therefore, in histrionics, they attain perfection only when they complement each other.


Jhora Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

Jhora dance is a springtime celebration in which the local people by moving around in circles.

It is a highly popular dance in the Kumaon Himalayas.

The USP of this dance is that it aims to break caste barriers, thus allowing both higher and lower-caste people to perform it together


Dance is one of the folk dances which Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh both share.

It is a dance that is in hasty steps of high speed.

Chhapeli is a music style too.

One interesting and attractive part of this dance is that it is a traditional dance that is by real lovers.

Swang Folk Dances of Uttar Pradesh

It is on religious stories and folk tales.

It is an open-air theatre.

In this artists sing religious stories and folk tales with acting.

It performs up to 5hrs.

Some of the men dress as women and women dress as a man to act and dance.

Pal danda -Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh

Diwari Pai Danda dance is a dance based on the Leela of Shri Krishna disguised as Natwar.

Which is the introduction of Yaduvanshiya war art at the time of grazing their cows.

This dance is from Panchami of Bhadrapada to Makar Sankranti of Paush-Magha month.

In the Khashkar Banda district of Bundelkhand, village-village Yadav caste youths and children perform this by forming groups.

In this, the art of fighting with sticks in the group, showing bravery in self-defense, getting out of the fireball, and staging their martial arts in decorated costumes with dancing skills is attractive.

They prepare arenas in the villages and take training.

At the time of dance, one has to dance with small sticks and sticks by tying a turban or safi on the head, wearing red phulra gul gand, anklets on the feet, in attractive costumes.

Basically, this dance proves Bundeli bravery.

Ramesh Pal, professional trainer and team leader of this Nataraj Traditional Wally Rural Band of Barokhar Khurd Banda, along with his twenty active members, enhances the Bundelo folk art in the arena of Mahaveeran.

Transferring the skill to the next generation.



Jhoola Dance

Peacock Dance or Mayur dance

Kadgoda dance

Dhivir Dance

Paase dance

Dhuriya dance

Choliya dance

Chpaile dance

Natwari dance

Devi dance

Lamp dance

kanra dance

Kartik dance

Kalabaji dance

Barende dance

Thdiya dance

cholar dance

Natuba dance

Daideya dance

Dakahari dance

Dhobiya Dance

Pasi Dance

Dhoriya Dance

Sairra Dance/Shorra Dance


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