The folk dances of West Bengal are a reflection of the rich cultural heritage of West Bengal. The various folk dances of this state are known for their enthusiasm and beauty.
Each region of West Bengal has something different to display. Dance is a part of the tribal lifestyle.
Various folk dances performed in different parts of the state and during different occasions create an atmosphere of great celebration and entertainment.
Apart from various folk dances of the state, the Rava dance also is one of the famous folk dances of West Bengal in the northern parts of the state.
Likewise, The folk dances in this state were initially either devotional or agricultural.
The major folk dances of Bengal
- Brita Dance
- Chhau Dance
- Gambhira Dance
- Tusu Dance
- Santhal Dance
- Lathi Dance
- Rava Dance
- Kirtan Dance
- Kushan Dance
- Alkap Dance
- Gajan Dance
- Mech Dance
- Rabha Dance
- Rajbansi Dance
- Ganga Baidya Dance
- Raibense Dance
- Ranpa Dance
- Bau Nritya
- Chaibari Nritya
- Pata Nach
- Baul Dance
- Dhali Dance
- Dhamail Dance
- Noila Brato Dance
- Kathi Dance
- Marasia Dance
- Jatra Dance
- Mahal Dance
Brita folk dance is one of the popular traditional folk dances of West Bengal.
However, Women of Bengal, who are unable to give birth to children perform this dance.
But only women perform this dance after giving birth to children as a sign of bowing down to God.
However, Rural Bengal only follows.
Chhau dance or Purulia Chhau is another major folk dance.
Moreover, The Purulia district of West Bengal state performs this dance.
But this folk dance is quite different from other Chhau dances.
So, Male dancers in Bengal perform this dance by wearing a mask.
It is also a mythological dance, as it is mainly based on various episodes of the great epic of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
In many Bengali films, dance has been also used.
Gambhira dance is also one of the most famous folk dances of Bengal, which enhances the rich culture of West Bengal.
Gambhira dance is also one of the famous devotional folk dances of Bengal.
Firstly it is very popular in North Bengal, especially in the Malda district.
The dancer wears a mask while giving a solo performance.
One of them is the Tusu dance of the Birbhum district.
But performing in the Pausha month of the Hindu calendar during December and January.
Both men and women performed this dance.
It is also popular in Purulia and Medinipur.
So, the most widely visited Indian tribes are Santhals.
But The Santhal tribe walks with musical melodies to celebrate the glory of nature, pray and deliver a message.
Lathi dance is also a form of folk dance with different art of expression.
Repentance, celebration, anger, pain, or love is expressed in this dance.
Moreover, The moves of the lathi dance dancers clearly beautifully define each expression.
So Dancer dance In the first ten days of the Muharram (Muslim festival)
But mostly of youth performs this dance.
But Lathi dance is actually a half dance and half a type of play.
The Rava dance is also one of the famous folk dances of West Bengal in the northern parts of the state.
So, Women belonging to the Rava community perform this dance.
Moreover, the Rava dance is rhythmic, colorful, and melodious.
The theme of Rava folk dance also includes work, many festivals, and daily life.
Kirtan folk dance form is one of the best forms of devotion.
The introduction of this dance is near about 500 years ago.
According to mythology, Narada Muni introduced this dance.
But this dance pays homage to Lord Krishna.
Moreover, the god appeared before the dancer’s eyes as if the devotees sang out and danced out their love and affection for their lord.
This dance has many elements of for example music, expression, drama, and many more.
The dancers feel the melody of music and dance and express themselves accordingly.
The kirtan dance is quite simple while raising and lowering hands-on musical beat.
Kushan folk dance is a traditional form of dance revolving around the Ramayana. The word kush refers to straw and aan refers to bring into Bengali.
KU means bad and Shaan means wiping out .so the word means to wipe out evil forces. The male dancer performs this dance.
Male dancer known as sokra enact their roles by singing and dancing and female dancer dressed as dances.
Use Harmonium, kajal, flute .
To understand the dialogues spoken by the subject and the lead dancer or native.
Before the performance, they do an Ashar bandana for God’s blessings.
The rural area of West Bengal and is especially in Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum, and Rajshahi perform this dance.
Dance is associated with the Gajan festival of Shiva.
The group consists of chorus artists, dancers, and singers. In alkap folk dance, there are ten to twelve dancers and they perform five parts.
The dancer highlights the social and economic condition of rural West Bengal.
Gajan dancers dance during the gajan festival celebrated in the rural part of West Bengal.
The dancer paints their faces to imitate different god and play mythological stories.
The dance praise Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The mech folk dance is also the famous dance of north Bengal.
But mostly performed mostly in the Jalpaiguri district.
Female dancers dress up in colorful costumes like butterflies.
The female tribes of the Rabha community of west Bengal perform Rabha folk dance and males play the bamboo flute and other musical instruments.
The dancer also performs different dances on different occasions like welcome dance, new year dance, and war dance.
The Rajbanshi is one of the many tribes of North Bengal.
However, the lives of the human beings belonging to the Rajbanshi tribe revolve across the Teesta River, which they worship as a Goddess.
The Teesta flows down the snow-capped peaks of Darjeeling, through the dense forests of Jalpaiguri.
This swish dance is also performed to invoke the blessings of the River Goddess.
The Dhol, Kanshi, Kartal, and Mukhabanshi are the devices that accompany this invocatory dance.
Ganga Baidya dance
Ganga Baidya is a dance of the snake charmers.
So the dance offers expression to the everyday lives, customs, hopes, and aspirations in addition to the rigors and tribulations of this sect of humans of rural Bengal.
The Bedes were a nomadic tribe who moved from area to area.
But earn their living by using singing their songs and showing acrobatic tricks – with fire, knives, sticks, and ropes.
Moreover, worshippers of Ma Manasha use snakes for a selection of tricks.
Through their songs and dances, the fearless Bedes sold snake venom and talismans to the villagers, promising them that those could keep evil away.
The Raibense dance that’s performed by a set of male dancers is part of the repertoire of the ‘Bratachari’ lifestyle of West Bengal.
The Raibense dance of ancient Bengal is an enormous as well as genuine reminder that the Bengalis were once renowned for his or her army prowess.
So the dance belongs to a living lifestyle of the war dances of historic Bengal.
Rai means royal, kingly, and bansh or bansha means bamboo.
This was used by the infantry soldiers in the middle ages.
This vigorous dance form includes mock fighting and acrobatics.
But It speaks volumes approximately the valor of the people of historical Bengal.
Dhol and Kanshi are the primary instruments used.
The strident rhythmic notes of the Dhol and the clanging of the Kanshi generate courage and daring within the hearts of the dancers.
No songs are sung or verses recited for the duration of this martial dance.
As a substitute, lively yells mark the various sectional moves.
The most effective dress, a dhoti (which is the traditional dress of Bengali guys) is worn with a strip of red material signifying spirit and valor.
This dance is extensively practiced within the Burdwan and Midnapore districts of West Bengal in India.
In this dance of initiation, the brand new bride is welcomed into her new own family.
The melodious tune provides the allure and splendor of the dance.
The men accompany them with dhamsa, madal, flute, and so forth.
This dance is especially popular in the Birbhum districts of West Bengal.
The Bauls belong to a sect with a unique mystic ideology of their own and their songs spread the message of peace and conventional brotherhood.
Today the Bauls’ songs can be heard in lots of districts of West Bengal as their footsteps dot the muddy village lanes of Bankura, Birbhum, Burddhaman, Nadia, Dinajpur, and Murshidabad.
Over time, the dance form has been changed extending to women dancers as well.
Dhamail is a folk dance performed by the married ladies of rural Bengal.
The clapping brings a rhythmic element into the otherwise gradual-paced dance.
Noila Broto Dance
The farmers and their better halves pray for a terrific monsoon on the way to bring about a plentiful harvest of crops, ushering in prosperity and happiness.
Kathi dance is a folk dance of West Bengal.
In dance, you can see the beautiful hand and leg coordination.
The Kathi dance is performed by the members of the lower castes.
It is usually performed by men.
The dance has rhythmic footwork which is completed by the beating of sticks by the performers.
This dance is well popular at the time of Durga puja.
During this festival, the performers also carry lamps while dancing.
The dancer dresses in shirts made out of leopard skin and Dhotis.
It is a tribal dance.
Male dancers dance in their group.
Jatra is the form of entertainment in Odisha and West Bengal.
it starts from autumn continues till the monsoon season.
dance includes music, dance, and play.
the performer performs this dance on an open stage and the audience encourages them all the sides.
play includes from Ramayan Mahabharat and now it’s updated in modern play