Lavani is a traditional folk dance of Maharashtra.

That originated in the Indian state of Maharashtra, particularly in the regions of Pune, Kolhapur, and Mumbai.

It is a vibrant and energetic dance style known for its expressive movements, rhythmic footwork, and powerful performances.

Here are some key features of the Lavani dance

Origin of Lavani dance


Lavani dance has its roots in the traditional folk music and poetry of Maharashtra.

It’s Historically female artists are as “Lavani dancers” or “Tamasha dancers” to entertain audiences and convey social messages.

Music and Instruments of Lavani Dance


Lavani is lively music, usually composed using traditional musical instruments such as the dholki (a hand drum), harmonium (a keyboard-like instrument), and tuntuni (a small cymbal).

The music often features a fast tempo and rhythmic beats.

Costumes of Lavani dance


Lavani dancers wear vibrant and colorful costumes that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Maharashtra.

Traditionally, dancers wear nauvari sarees, which are nine-yard sarees in a unique style, allowing freedom of movement. They also adorn themselves with heavy jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, and bangles.

Expressive Movements of Lavani Dance


Lavani is by a wide range of expressive movements, including rhythmic footwork, graceful hand gestures, and facial expressions. The dancers use their entire bodies to convey emotions, storytelling, and social commentary.

Themes and Lyrics of Lavani Dance


Lavani’s performances often depict a range of themes, including love, romance, social issues, and empowerment. The songs and lyrics of Lavani are typically in Marathi, the local language of Maharashtra, and are filled with poetic expressions and metaphors.

Performance Style of Lavani dance


Lavani is traditionally in a semi-circle or a circular formation, with the musicians sitting in the center. The dancers interact with the musicians and engage in lively conversations through their dance and singing.

Over the years, Lavani has gained recognition beyond its folk roots and has become popular in mainstream Indian cinema and theater. It continues to be cherished as a cultural treasure of Maharashtra and is performed at festivals, weddings, and other celebratory occasions.


Etymology of Lavani dance

The term “Lavani” is derived from the Marathi word “Lavanya,” which means beauty or grace. The dance form acquired this name due to its association with beauty and elegance. Lavani is known for its vibrant and lively performances, characterized by the grace and charm of the dancers.

Historically, Lavani was performed in the context of the Tamasha tradition, which refers to a form of folk entertainment in Maharashtra. Tamasha includes a combination of music, dance, and theatrical performances, with Lavani being one of the prominent elements.

The etymology of Lavani can also be traced back to Lavani poetry, which forms the lyrical component of the dance. Lavani songs are typically composed using Marathi poetry that is rich in imagery and metaphorical expressions. These songs are known for their wit, emotional depth, and social commentary.

Overall, the term “Lavani” signifies the beauty and grace associated with the dance form, as well as its poetic and expressive nature.


History of Lavani dance

The history of Lavani can be traced back to several centuries ago in the state of Maharashtra, India. It emerged as a popular folk dance form, closely associated with the Tamasha tradition, which encompasses a mix of music, dance, and theater.

The exact origins of Lavani are not well-documented, as it evolved gradually over time through cultural exchanges and influences. However, it is believed to have roots in the devotional music and dance forms of the region.

During the medieval period, Lavani began to flourish as a form of entertainment in the courts of Maratha rulers. It was performed by women known as “Lavani dancers” or “Tamasha dancers” who entertained the court with their lively performances. The Lavani dancers were often skilled in singing, dancing, and storytelling, captivating the audience with their expressive movements and powerful voices.

Lavani also served as a means of social commentary, addressing various issues prevalent in society, including gender roles, societal norms, and politics. It provided a platform for women to express their thoughts and opinions through art and performance.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Lavani gained popularity beyond the royal courts and started to be performed in public spaces like fairs, festivals, and markets. It became a form of entertainment for the masses, enjoyed by people from different walks of life.

Over time, Lavani underwent various transformations and adaptations to suit the changing times. It found its way into the world of Indian cinema, with Lavani songs and dances becoming a regular feature in Bollywood films, particularly in the state of Maharashtra.



Origin of Lavani dance

The exact origin of Lavani is not well-documented, as it evolved gradually over time through cultural exchanges and influences in the region of Maharashtra, India. However, it is believed to have its roots in the traditional folk music and dance forms of the state.

Lavani is closely associated with the Tamasha tradition, which encompasses a mix of music, dance, and theater. The term “Tamasha” itself means entertainment in Marathi, the local language of Maharashtra.

The origins of Tamasha can be traced back to ancient times when it was performed as a form of devotional music and dance associated with religious festivals and rituals. Over the centuries, Tamasha and Lavani developed and gained popularity as forms of entertainment that could be enjoyed by people from different walks of life.

Lavani, as a distinct dance form, emerged as a means of expression for women. It provided a platform for them to showcase their talent, convey social messages, and express their thoughts and emotions through art. The Lavani dancers, known as “Lavani performers” or “Tamasha dancers,” played a crucial role in popularizing the dance form and making it an integral part of Maharashtra’s cultural heritage.

While the specific details of Lavani’s origin may not be documented, it is clear that it has deep roots in the folk traditions and cultural practices of Maharashtra. Over time, Lavani has evolved and adapted to changing times while retaining its essence and significance as a vibrant and energetic dance form.


Attire of Lavani

The attire of Lavani dancers is an integral part of their performance and reflects the cultural heritage of Maharashtra. The costumes are vibrant, colorful, and designed to enhance the visual appeal of the dance. Here are the key elements of Lavani attire:

Nauvari Saree

The traditional costume for Lavani dancers is the nauvari saree. It is a nine-yard saree draped in a specific style that allows freedom of movement. The saree is draped around the waist and worn without a petticoat, allowing the dancers to perform dynamic movements with ease. Nauvari sarees are usually made of silk or other rich fabrics and come in a variety of bright colors and patterns.


The dancers wear a fitted blouse or choli as the upper garment. The choli is often heavily embroidered or decorated with sequins, beads, or mirrors to add to the visual appeal. It is typically designed to complement the colors and patterns of the saree.


Lavani dancers adorn themselves with heavy and ornate jewelry. This includes necklaces, earrings, bangles, waistbands, and anklets. The jewelry is usually made of gold or silver and is often studded with gemstones or colorful beads. The jewelry adds sparkle and elegance to the overall look of the dancers.

Makeup and Accessories

Lavani dancers emphasize their facial features with bold and dramatic makeup. This includes dark kohl-rimmed eyes, bright and vibrant eyeshadow, and bold lipstick. They also wear accessories like nose rings, bindis (forehead decorations), and hair ornaments to complete the look.


Ghungroos are musical anklets that are an essential part of Lavani dance. They are made up of small metallic bells that create rhythmic sounds when the dancer moves. The ghungroos enhance the footwork and add an element of musicality to the performance.

The attire of Lavani dancers is carefully designed to enhance the beauty, grace, and vibrancy of the dance form. It not only adds to the visual spectacle but also represents the cultural richness and traditions of Maharashtra.


Famous lavani dancer

There have been many talented and renowned Lavani dancers throughout the history of this art form. Here are a few notable Lavani dancers:

Yamunabai Waikar

Yamunabai Waikar is often considered one of the legendary figures in Lavani dance. She was known for her powerful and expressive performances and played a significant role in popularizing Lavani as a respected art form. Her contributions to Lavani have been widely recognized and appreciated.

Surekha Punekar

Surekha Punekar is a contemporary Lavani dancer and singer who has made significant contributions to the art form. With her energetic performances and melodious voice, she has gained popularity not only in Maharashtra but also internationally. Surekha Punekar has been instrumental in bringing Lavani to newer generations and promoting its cultural significance.

Shakuntala Nagarkar

Shakuntala Nagarkar was a prominent Lavani dancer and actress in the Marathi film industry. She was known for her graceful movements and captivating stage presence. Shakuntala Nagarkar’s performances in Lavani dance and her contributions to Marathi cinema have earned her recognition and acclaim.

Madhuri Dixit

While primarily known as a Bollywood actress, Madhuri Dixit is showcasing her talent and mastery of Lavani dance in several films.

Her performances in songs like “Humko Aaj Kal Hai” from the film “Sailaab” and “Dola Re Dola” from the film “Devdas” have captivated audiences with her graceful expressions and nimble footwork.

These are just a few examples of famous Lavani dancers who have made significant contributions to the art form and have left a lasting impact on its legacy.

Lavani continues to be celebrated by numerous talented dancers who contribute to its vibrant and dynamic nature.


So Today, Lavani also continues to be celebrated as a vibrant and cherished folk dance form of Maharashtra.

It is at cultural events, weddings, and festivals, preserving its traditional essence while also incorporating contemporary elements.

Efforts are being made to promote and preserve Lavani as an integral part of Maharashtra’s cultural heritage.

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