Folk Dances of Kashmir
The rich heritage of Kashmir includes famous dances that are presented on all the major functions and weddings in the state and also there are some special dances presented on functions like birthdays, crop harvesting etc. Jammu and Kashmir dance forms are not only limited to the state but they attract the eye of all the people from all over the country. These traditional dances now form an integral part of the rich culture of the state.
One of the famous dance forms of the state is Kud dance. It is performed to honor the gods ‘Lok Devtas’ as a thanks giving ritual and is mostly done in nights. This form has lots of interesting and twisted movements. Unlike other dance forms in Kud dance young people as well old people participate equally that makes it more interesting. Rhythm and Beats of the music dominate in this form of dance forms and dancers plan their movement accordingly. Some special Musical instruments are used in dance like Chhaina, Drums, Narsingha and flute. Spontaneity is another key Feature that is found mostly in all the folk dances. This kind of dance is generally performed in centre of mountains in and around Jammu and is mostly performed during rainy season. The reason behind this is the farmers and villagers who work as farmers want to oblige god the local deity ‘Gramdevta’ for protecting their cattle’s, maize crops, children’s and family from all sorts of natural calamities. The local farmers perform this dance generally and people join from nearby villages in the celebrations. Everyone is in their best attire and dance through the night and celebrate in a festive spirit. In typical Kud dance, dancers are in 20 to 30 numbers which is performed by famers to thank god and is generally continued till late hours in night. Jammu state has always been known for its rich culture which is clearly reflected in the various dances forms performed during different functions and ceremonies.
Of all the dance forms the most famous Dance forms practiced in Kashmir is ‘Dumhal’. Dancers performing this dance are dressed up wearing vibrant colored robes and conical caps which are generally studded with beads and look really beautiful. Not every man can perform this dance but only males of Wattal can perform this dance and that too during special occasion. This dance is very different from all the dances performed which is performed on set locations and the set occasions..There is a special ritual manner in which dancers have to dance and a banner is dig into the ground and dance generally takes off with group of men dancing around this banner. Dancers sing in a melodious voice in chorus and they are joined by drum beats in between.
Another famous traditional dance form is Rouf which is found in Kashmir region. This dance form is practiced on festive occasions like Eid and Ramzan days are going. It is performed by group of women standing face to face to each other but the most notable feature of this dance form is the footwork of the dancers. One of the most known dance form in all the regions of Jammu and Kashmir is ‘Rouf; which is generally pronounced as ‘ruf’ in villages and as ‘row’ in cities. It is a dance performed on set of spring season and has always been an integral part of kashmiri people since a very long time.
It is a form of Theatre dance performed in Kashmir. This dance form does not only include dance but also include plays between dances that captivates the audience. It shows the normal lives, traditions and evils prevailing in the society.
This yet another dance form is generally performed at cultural gatherings or special functions like weddings and is only and only performed by boys. Even man can perform this dance but have to be dressed as boys. It consists of six to seven members maximum and there is no external singer one of the dancers is the lead singer among the dancers that sings in a melodious voice and other members joins him in chorus, this creates a very soothing effect as most of the singers are young in age. The dresses worn by dancers somewhat resemble to those worn by Kathak dancers. In some parts this dance form is also known by the name ‘Bachha Gyavaun’ that means young harmonious voice.
It is a dance that is performed at weddings and is a form of Kashmiri traditional dance. There is a special instrument used in this dance known as Santoor that contains almost hundred strings and is played with the help of sticks.
Bhand Jashan is a very soothing dance with very light music and performed in traditional style by ten to fifteen dancers.
This Kind of dance is showcased during the harvesting season and is performed by only boys and among those boys one performs the role of Female and performs Hafiza style dance.
This dance form is generally performed after all the rituals of wedding when the bride is about to leave her parental home. Kashmiri Pundit females gather around bridal rangoli and dances.