Top 10 Traditional Folk Dances of India from Different States

Indians live in a large geographical area with diverse cultures, traditions, and languages. This diverse nature makes India quite unique. In India, the multitude of folklore, legends, and myth widespread in various corners, that connects with local song and dance tradition results in a rich collection of composite art. Indian celebrated festivals to express happiness and joy. Each and every festival is performed with some rituals, worships, and classical dance or folk dance forms. This tradition has been practiced from old times.

The Folk Dance forms are constrained to a distinct group of people or at a particular locality. This dance form performs on different occasions like festivals, arrival regional seasons, born of baby, marriage, and more. These dance forms performed via masses without any formal training, while performing they convey the story of glorious Indian history and its culture. This is the beauty of Indian art and culture. Each and every state has its own multiple folk dance.  Some of the dance forms are performed by men or women, and some of the dance forms are performed by men and women together.

1. Garba


Garba is a famous folk dance form of Gujarat. This dance form was performed on the occasion of Navratri. Graba stands for “Garbha deep” – an earthen pot with holes, in which a lamp is lit and women dance around it in circular movements with rhythmic clapping.

2. Bhangra/Giddha


It is the highly enthusiastic folk dance that is performed on the occasion of Baisakhi in Punjab. They danced on the catchy drum beats in festivals. Giddha is basically a performance by Punjabi women. Traditionally, Bhangra is danced by men but now we see both men and women participating in this dance.

3. Ghoomar


Ghoomar is a famous Rajasthani folk dance. Earlier, it was performed by a bhil tribe to worship Goddess Saraswati ‘. Now, this is performed by many communities of Rajasthan. This is basically performed by veiled women who wear multicolored flowing Ghagra . Ghoomar dance performed by Deepika Padukone infamous Bollywood movie “Padmavat”.

4. Mayilattam

It is popularly known as ‘Peacock Dance’ in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In this folk dance, young girls are dressed as peacocks, wear vibrant and colorful headgears, beaks and feathers. That’s why it is known as ‘Peacock dance’.  Their folk dance is inspired by many animals. There are many similar folk dances like Kaalai Attam ( bull dance), Karadi Attam ( bear dance), Aali Attam( demon dance), and Pampu Attam(snake dance). Still, these dance forms are practiced for many reasons in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

5. Singhi Chham

Singhi chham is performed during the Panglapsool festival in Sikkim. It is also known as mask dance . The dancers are dressed in furry lion costumes that represent the ‘snow lion’ . It is a kind of tribute to “Khang- Chen Dzonga Pa”(Kanchenjunga peak).

6. Bihu

This is performed in a group by both men and women and they used their hand for rapid hand movements and brisk footsteps. It is a popular folk dance of Assam. It is performed during the Bihu festival and an important part of indigenous Assamese culture. The performers are dressed in colourful traditional costumes to celebrate pomp and gaiety.

7. Jat-Jatin 

This folk Dance form is performed by couples. It shows the moments of  quarrel and tender love between Bihari couples by performers.It is a very famous folk dance in the curtain parts of Bihar, Mithila and koshi. The performers also used themes in ther performance like natural calamities.

8. Hulivesha

Hulivesha folk dance is  mostly popular in the southern part of Karnataka, especially in coastal regions. Male performers participated in this dance performance. The performers disguise themselves into painted tigers and they make angry faces while performing. It is a sort of tribute to goddess Durga. Basically, this folk dance is performed during Durga Puja.

9. Chhau

There are three main styles of Chhau dance that are performed in the tribal belt of the bordering areas of eastern India – Saraikela Chhau in Jharkhand, Mayurbhanj Chhau in Odisha, and Purulia in West Bengal. This folk dance listed in the representative list of the Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO in 2010. The word Chhau takes from the Hindi word ” Chhaya” that means ” shadow”. It is a kind of mask dance form. In this dance form, the performers used rigorous martial movement to recite traditional stories. They also use natural themes like Sarpa Nritya (serpent dance) or Mayur Nritya (peacock dance).

10. Matki

It is performed mainly by a solo woman in the Malwa region. Generally, the dancers used props like numbers of earthen pots and they balanced these pots on the head during the dance performance. There are two more famous variants of the Matki dance, Aada, and Khada Nach.

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