Folk dances spark cultural fire in Mangalore

12 teams from 12 states showcase their tradition, talent as audience go crazy

The folk dance competition that started on Friday as part of National Youth Festival had lit a spark of cultural fire and on Saturday the stage was set ablaze by the 12 teams who performed from the different parts of the country.

The crowd went manic when team Karnataka started banging the drums and matching steps accordingly while dancing ‘Dollu Kunitha’. The essence of tribal culture could be seen in the performance and the tiger skin costumes added flavour to the dance.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, performer Manjunath said that their team Shri Maruthi Dollina Yuvaka Sangha from Shimoga had months of preparation before the show.


“This dance is performed in honour of Lord Beerappa and is also called as ‘Gandu Kale’ as it is performed by men,” he said. Pointing out to his drum, he said that it weighs 15 kg and is made of goat skin.

The audience were awestruck at team Tamil Nadu’s performance which consisted of only ladies who performed a mix of various dances. The group started with ‘Mattukambattam,’ a dance using cow horns.

Then they performed ‘Thappattam’ and later a religious dance ‘Kavadiyattam’. Their highlight performance was ‘Karagattam,’ where the ladies balanced pots on their head and walked on sticks. ‘Poikkal Kudirai Aattam’ where people danced with dummy horses and ‘Mayilattam’ where the performers wore peacock costumes added beauty to the show.

Team Assam performed their traditional ‘Bihu’ folk dance. The dancers danced with props like Dhol, Papa, Gagana, Taka and Soutoli. “The Bihu dance is usually woven around theme of love. We wear traditional dresses like Dhoti, Gamocha, Chadhar and Mekhala,” says performer Sri Tirtha Deka.

The crowd cheered when team Madhya Pradesh carried a little Krishna in a basket while they performed ‘Bharedhi’. “This dance is performed usually by Yadhav Community and is performed during Deepavali,” said team member Sharad Yadav. The team also formed human pyramids and rotated plates on the fingers.

Team Dadra and Nagar Haveli, played the traditional ‘Dandiya Ras’ which is played during Navaratri.

 “This dance is usually performed on Sharad Poornima. It is conceptualized that Lord Krishna plays Dandiya Ras with his Gopis,” says Jigar Rathore.

Team Odisha performed a mix of folk dances such as ‘Gumaura’ and ‘Banabadi’ which are war dances and ‘Dhap,’ ‘Bajasal,’ ‘Ghuduka,’ ‘Changu’ which are romantic tribal dances.
Team Goa, remembered the valiant kings through their traditional ‘Mussal Khel,’ also known as Pestle Dance. This dance truly crosses all religious barriers, as the dancers are usually Christians who sing praises to the Kings who are Hindus.

Attractive headgears and somersaults was the key highlight of the ‘Chhow Dance’ performed by team Jharkhand. The theme revolved around Goddess Durga killing Mahishasura.
Team Manipur performed ‘Thougal-Jagoi’, a traditional dance of Meitei Community. The dance is performed during the ‘Umang Lai Haroba’ fetsival. It is usually performed in between spring and summer before the ‘Umanglai’ temple.

Team Delhi performed a dance using sticks called as ‘Ranappa’ and Pondicherry performed a harvest dance, where the dancers pray to Goddess Kali to free themselves from the troubles of Asuras. Team Chattisgarh received a huge round of applause when they performed a mix of Parab and Pooja dance.

The TMA Pai Auditorium was jam-packed with the audience who were screaming slogans in praise of Bharath Matha. A mini-India has formed in Mangalore with the NYF and one could feel the unity here in spite of several  cultural diversities.

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