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Bollywood Folk Dances

$60.00 4 Week Month, $75.00 5 Week Month, $18.00 Drop-In rate

Bollywood Folk Dances

India is a land of many varied cultures and traditions. Diversities in all spheres make the Indian culture quite unique. Indian folk and tribal dances are the product of different regions and subcultures where traditions evolved over the ages to celebrate the MANY festivals observed in India, many of which are often featured in Bollywood movies and choreographies. Folk dances that are featured in Bollywood films are performed to express joy and reverence for Indian holidays and their deities.

Folk dances are performed for every possible occasion – to celebrate the arrival of seasons, various Indian deities, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals, which are a plenty. The folk dances can be extremely simple with minimum steps and lots of repetition. Indian folk dances are full of energy and vitality. Some dances are performed separately by men and women while in some performances men and women dance together. On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, accompanied by artists with instruments. Each form of folk dance has a specific costume and rhythm. Most of the costumes, worn for folk dances, are colorful with extensive jewels and designs.
Some of the folk dances we will explore at Bella Diva:


‘Bhangra’ is one of the most popular and energetic dances of Punjab. The origins of this impressive dance form remains speculative. While it is widely believed that ‘Bhangra’ is a martial dance form, it is also said that it was started by farmers to celebrate the harvest season. No celebration in the Punjab and surround areas is complete without a Bhangra performance. In a typical performance, several dancers executed vigorous kicks, leaps, and bends of the body to the accompaniment of short songs called ‘boliyan’ and, most significantly, to the beat of a ‘dhol’ (a double-headed drum). Struck with a heavy beater on one end and with a lighter stick on the other, the dhol imbued bhangra music with a syncopated (accents on the weak beats) sound, with a swinging rhythmic character that has generally remained the hallmark of any music that has come to bear the ‘bhangra’ name. Bhangra is high energy dance style with lots of jumping, bouncing, squatting and throwing movements.


This dance form originated in the state of Gujarat. Garba is traditionally performed during the nine-day Hindu festival ‘Navaratri’. The dance is performed around a lamp with circular and spiral patterns that have similarities to other spiritual dances, such as those of Sufi culture. Garba’s circular patterns symbolize of the Hindu view of time. The rings of dancers revolve in cycles, as time in Hinduism is cyclical. The word ‘garba’ comes from the Sanskrit word for womb and so implies gestation or pregnancy – life! The dancers thus honor Durga, the feminine form of divinity. often incorporates “Dandiya”, wooden sticks used for partner and rhythmic purposes.


This folk style is a traditional dance of Rajasthan. The dance is primarily performed by veiled women who wear flowing dresses called ‘ghaghara’ and typically involves performers pirouetting while moving in and out of a wide circle. According to the traditional rituals, a newly married bride is expected to dance ghoomar on being welcomed to her new marital home. The word “ghoomna” describes the twirling movement of the dancers and is the basis of the word ghoomar.


Lavani is a genre of music popular in the state of Maharashtra, India. Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of the ‘Dholki’, a percussion instrument. Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm and has contributed substantially to the development of Marathi folk theatre. The ladies who perform Lavani wear a long sari length around 9 metres in length! They form a bun with their hair and wear heavy jewelry including a necklace, earrings, kamarpatta (a belt at the waist) and bangles. They usually put a large bindi of dark red color on their forehead.