Dandiya Raas is the famous dance form in India, generally performed by the devotees after aarti during the festival season of Navratri. In Dandiya raas, people of India love to match the dance steps with the tunes of the music. Not only Indians but also all over the world, many non-Indians as well enjoy dancing the steps of Dandiya dance with the two sticks in their hands. Although dandiya raas is a custom originated from the state of Gujarat, but people of Maharashtra, Mumbai and other north Indian enjoy the dandiya raas and celebrate Navaratri festival in a unique style with great pomp. Mumbai with its Bollywood influence also introduced disco Dandiya. The dance is usually performed after the 'aarti' of the Goddess on all nine days, but the last day of Navratri has a grand celebration with people enjoying delicacies and dancing for the entire night.
Dandiya was originally performed by men and was known to be a practice of swords, which were actually done with long sticks in hands. It is a form of dance originating from another dance known as the Garba. Dandiya is a dance specific for the festival Navartri, a festival in which Goddess Durga is worshiped. A pot is decorated and has holes in it. It is kept in the center of the dancers and all the dancers revolve around it. The sticks represent the Goddess sword. The historical links are found about the Dandiya dance in the 'Natyashastra' by Bharata Muni somewhere around 1000 BC. It was performed with a drummer who stood inside the circle of dancers and all the dancers going in a circle around the pot and the drummer.
Dance Steps for Dandiya Raas:
Dandiya is a Gujarati folk dance, played with much jubilation and practice. If you are interested in participating in dandiya dance but don’t know how to play dandiya then read the below mentioned tips to learn the dandiya raas steps easily.
1- Both the men and women should dress up in the tradition style to feel and enjoy the dandiya dance fully.
2- Dandiya raas is played in an even set of group in two circles.
3- Two circles have been created for dandiya dance. One circle rotates clockwise, while the other rotates anti clockwise.
4- The drummer takes position in the center of the two circles and leads the dancers with his beats.
5- People dancing to the tunes of Dandiya should be ready with the bamboo sticks and pair up into partners.
6- On count one hit your right hand stick to the left above the head level and hit the same right hand stick to your partner stick while your body sweeps to left and then to right.
7- Put your left foot front on count one simultaneously and then shift your body weight to the right while you turn.
8- Match the footworks with your partner and music.
9- Hit your sticks in an X form and then hit both the sticks to your partner.
10- These steps are repeated clock wise and anti-clockwise. It is done in opposite to the partners.
There is no fun when you do not dance with the appropriate dress, be it a salsa, ballad, or if it is Dandiya dance. People, who are participating in the dandiya dancing for Navaratri celebration, dressed up accordingly. Women dress in three piece Ghagra or also known as the Chania. It is a set of a skirt, blouse and odhni. The skirt is made in such a way that it flares round when the woman steps back and front. Women also dress up in beautiful and suitable jewelery. Men dress up in dhotis and aangrakha or kurtas, 'kedia' - a high waist tops and 'mojdee' - a handmade leather shoes. These attires are available ready-made all over the country for the people to enjoy dancing without any much fuss.
Dandiya is popular in other counries too like United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and all those countries where Gujaratri people are good in numbers. Why do not you also try Garba and Dandiya during this Navratri for fun and joy?