Punjab, a North Indian state divided between India and Pakistan, has the most expressive and diverse culture in the whole of India. The dance and music of Punjab are vital components showcasing the same.
The state is renowned for its vibrant and energetic folk dances. Among the various folk dances of Punjab, Bhangra, and Gidda are the most renowned ones. The energy-packed folk dances of Punjab have a captivating aura, making the audience sway and tap their feet to every beat. Even non-Punjabis imitate the Punjabi folk dance steps during their cultural programs.
What Are The Typical Features Of A Punjabi Folk Dance?
Most of the Punjabi folk dances show the following common features:
- Strong exuberance and enthusiasm
- Pronounced movements and verbal comments amid the dances
- Reflection of feelings straight from the heart
- The subtlety of movements in some cases
- Vibrancy and elements of youthfulness
- Use of colorful, glossy, and silky costumes
- Waving colorful handkerchiefs is a common gesture
- Unique shoulder movements
- Rhythmic flow
The Most Famous Folk Dances Of Punjab
Here are some of the famous folk dances of Punjab:
1. Bhangra Dance
Bhangra is the typical Punjabi dance of beats. Started as a celebration dance in Punjab villages to welcome the spring season, Bhangra has turned into a worldwide phenomenon today. This dance has carried the name of Punjab across all seas more than anything else. Over the years, Bhangra has changed quite a lot. Traditionally, Bhangra was a mix of high-tempo dance steps, songs, and musical instruments like Dhol, Akhtar (a single-stringed instrument), and Chimta. The songs sung along with the dance are generally based on themes like love, patriotism, or pertaining to social issues. Today, Bhangra tunes fused with hip hop or reggae are quite a craze in clubs and discos. The performers wear a Kurta along with a vest over it. They also flaunt well-made turbans of different colors.
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2. Gidda Dance
If you thought the Bhangra folk dance was highly spectacular, then Giddha will give you the same kind of entertainment. Like Bhangra, which is performed only by men, Giddha is a specialty area for women. This dance is generally performed during special occasions like festivals or marriages. Giddha performed during marriages is called ‘Viyahula Giddha.’ The performers stand in a circle, forming a ring. One woman sits in the center of the ring and plays the Dhol. The best thing about the dance is that there are no hard and fast rules to which the dancers have to perform. They dance according to the tune and rhythm. Through Gidda, the different phases in the life of Punjabi women are depicted.
3. Kikli Dance
Kikli is as much a Marigo Round game form as it is a dance. That is why it is far more popular among younger girls. Kikli, too, is essentially a women’s dance. In this dance, girls form pairs and stand facing each other. They hold each other’s hands in a crossed manner and stand on their toes. They then start moving in a circular motion, slowly gathering momentum. Along with rotating, they keep singing songs related to their father, mother, and relatives and about incidences of their lives.
4. Jaago Dance
Jaago is a traditional dance performed by women folk during wedding celebrations. It involves carrying a decorated earthen pot on the head, adorned with lit candles or oil lamps. The dancers move in a procession, singing and dancing to bless the new bride and groom.
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5. Jhumar Dance
Jhumar is a lively folk dance that originated in Punjab’s Sandalbar region. It is a joyful and celebratory dance performed on various occasions, such as weddings, festivals, and social gatherings. The dance is characterized by energetic movements. The dancers form a circle and move in a synchronized manner, performing quick footwork, twirls, and jumps. The energetic beats of the Dhol and the Chimta, a traditional Punjabi percussion instrument, add to the dance’s vibrancy.
6. Luddi Dance
Luddi is a lively and energetic dance form traditionally performed by men. It is characterized by vigorous movements, jumps, and high-energy footwork. Luddi is often accompanied by rhythmic drumming and is a popular folk dance at festive occasions.
7. Sammi Dance
Sammi is a traditional Punjabi folk dance that originated in the Sandalbar region. It is a narrative dance form that tells stories of separation, longing, and love. This dance form took its birth from the social and historical context of Punjab. Through this dance, the women of Punjab expressed their feelings when they had to part with their loved ones during the time of migration or war. The dance is an expressive dance form, full of graceful gestures. The subtle movements and facial expressions bring out the emotions aptly. The dancers move in a circular pattern, with one lead dancer narrating the tale through verses while the other dancers follow her.
8. Gatka Dance
Gatka is a traditional martial art-based dance form that originated in Punjab. It includes combat techniques, energetic swordplay, and self-defense gestures and movements. Gatka is not only a dance form but also a form of physical and mental discipline.
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9. Dhamaal Dance
Dhamaal is a dynamic folk dance form performed during religious festivals and celebrations. It involves spinning and jumping to the beats of Dhol, creating a joyous and celebratory atmosphere. Dhamaal is a captivating sight that engages both performers and spectators.
10. Jugni Dance
Jugni is a traditional dance form that combines elements of singing and dancing. It involves a solo performer or a group of performers singing folk songs while dancing. Jugni is a versatile dance form that expresses an expansive range of emotions, from happiness to sorrow.
11. Jindua Dance
Jindua is a popular folk-dance form that originated in the Malwa region of Punjab. It involves intricate footwork, synchronized movements, and graceful spins. Jindua is often performed during cultural festivals and is known for its elegance and charm.
12. Malwai Giddha Dance
Malwai Giddha, one of Punjab’s popular folk dances, is performed by the bachelors. This dance form originated in districts such as Firozpur, Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Patiala, Faridkot, and Sangrur. The dance makes use of a diverse range of musical instruments, which include Chimta and Dholaki.
The Punjabi folk dances, including Bhangra, Giddha, etc., are a testament to the vibrant and rich cultural heritage of the region. These robust dances have transcended time and all boundaries, bringing joy, celebration, and a sense of unity to people around the world. These traditional dance forms of Punjab symbolize a vibrant legacy that lives on, inspiring many generations to come.