Dancing in the Valley

folk forms
Last Updated 17 September 2016, 18:35 IST

The regions of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh have nurtured several folk dance forms. Every festival, wedding, and joyful occasion is celebrated through dance and music.

For example, the Rouf of Kashmir has been performed since ancient times. Two groups of women face each other and perform a slow dance with simple footwork. Rouf is performed especially during Ramzaan and Eid celebrations.

At weddings in the Dogri tradition, a dance called Jagarna is performed. When the menfolk are out accompanying the bridegroom to the bride’s home, the women of the house get together indulging in gossip through music and dance.

The nomadic community in the hills has its own culture and this is reflected in their folk songs and dances. One of these communities, the Gujjars, have their colourful dance form called Gojari. Their songs are more like narratives of their daily lives.

Kashmir also offers a platform for adolescents to display their musical talent. Bachha Gyavaun or Bachha Nagma is performed traditionally by boys or men dressed as boys during wedding ceremonies and cultural celebrations.

The provinces of Poonch, Rajouri, Uri, Keran and Karnah are home to Pahari people. Their distinctive folk songs and dances showcasing their costumes and lifestyle come through in the Pahari.

Resounding in the hills of Reasi, Udhampur, Kathua and Doda regions is a popular form known as Kud. Traditionally, Kud is performed to appease the local deities. This form has continued over centuries, and today it is also performed during weddings, births and harvests. Though earlier only men would take the stage for Kud, women have started participating in it with equal abandon.

The mountainous region Ladakh is known for the Jabro, popular in the Changthang region. Performed by the nomadic tribe of Tibetan origin during Losar (New Year), Jabro songs are sung to the accompaniment of daman, a stringed instrument, and the flute.

The Bhadarwahi comes from the region of Bhadarwah on the foothills of the Himalayas. The dance is performed by the nomadic tribe of Gaddis. They are shepherds, who move along with their sheep searching for pastures.

The dance forms from Jammu and Kashmir are brought to the limelight during cultural programmes such as Jashn-e-Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir Utsav.

(Published 17 September 2016, 15:43 IST)

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