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Bhavai Theatre Dance Rajasthan – Bhavai Rajasthani Folk Dance Bhavai Rajasthan
A FAMOUS FOLK DANCE FROM RAJASTHAN IN WHICH PERFORMERS BALANCE UP TO 9 POTS ON THEIR HEAD. Bhavai dance of Rajasthan is a Rajasthani artistic folk dance that is done by skilled dancers only. Bhavi dance includes the balance of a number of earthen pots or brass pitchers
Rajasthan as a state has attracted major global attention because of its rich culture and heritage. The folk dances of Rajasthan, too, have attracted many art patrons from across the globe. One such form of dance is Bhavai, the incredible pot dance of India.
There are at least fifteen major formats of folk dances in Rajasthan, and one of them is the well-known Bhavai. The prime feature of Bhavai folk dance is the set of terracotta pots that performers balance on their heads while giving a dance performance.
While another folk dance that goes by the name “Chari Dance” to includes balancing of the pot(s) on the head, it is noteworthy that the pots used in Bhavai dance are made of regional clay whereas the Chari dance involves pitchers made of brass (also commonly called Chari which also signifies the name of the dance).
Another major difference between the two dance formats is that the only feat in Chari dance is the pitchers, the insides of which are set aflame, whereas there are numerous feats involved in a Bhavai dance performance.
The first unbelievable feat of the dance is that the performers do not balance just one, but up to nine earthen pots on their heads. If you think that would be enough of an act in a single performance, you could not be farther from the truth.
The Bhavai performers demonstrate their skills by dancing on formidable objects like naked swords (sharper edge facing upwards), broken glasses, and bed of nails. As if that isn’t enough to inspire awe in the spectators, performers balance the soles of their feet on barely manageable glasses and rim of a thali (steel dish). All these elements go into the making of this eventual traditional dance that will never fail to create excitement among spectators.
The inspiration for this dance format seems to come from the former rural life of Rajasthan. Being a state substantially covered with desert, there has never been an abundance of water resources here. Though the natural conditions are pretty much the same even now, technology has increased the accessibility and availability of water for villagers. But earlier, when no instruments were available, womenfolk of the villages were required to fetch water from common sources like wells.
They used to carry multiple clay pots simultaneously to save their time, and since the path in villages was used to be filled with thorns, it pretty much clears up how the whole chore would have inspired a dance format which has now received international recognition.
The dance form originally belonged to the Bhil, Jat, Meena, Kalbeliyas and Kumhars communities of Rajasthan, but now, no such boundaries affect this unique art. To get a glimpse of how exciting a Bhavai dance performance can watch this video.
Bhawai is a folk dance with swaying and twirling movements that is performed by women from certain tribes from the state of Rajasthan. This folk dance is one of the state’s most exciting dance performances as it involves tricky balancing acts, right from balancing seven to nine brass pots on the head to balancing oneself (along with the pots) on narrow and unstable objects like a glass bottle, brass plate or the edge of a sword. The brass pots can, and are often, substituted by an even greater number of earthen pots. Bhawai is also one of the most colorful performances of the state as the women wear bright colored ghaghra cholis and dupattas. The men from these communities offer the music to this dance, using string and percussion instruments. Bhavai dance is often misinterpreted from ‘Bhavai’ which is a folk theatre form of Gujarat.
Although many believe that this dance originated in Gujarat and was inspired by a folk theatre art form of the same name, the Bhawai folk dance of Rajasthan has been a part of the state’s culture for a number of years. This thrilling art form is known to be a special custom of the following tribes: Bhils, Raigers, Charmars, Kumhars, Jats, Meenas and even Kalbelias. The Bhawai dance is usually performed during fairs and festivals as well as special occasions such as weddings. The emergence of this dance form can be traced to the household needs of Rajasthani folk, wherein the women were responsible for traveling long distances each day with numerous brass pots in order to fetch water for the family.
Sources of Inspiration
This dance is inspired by the fact that in the age of feudalism, and to some extent even today, the women of Rajasthan have had to walk for miles on end with a number of pots in order to fill water. When translated into dance, the women carry seven to nine pots on their heads and perform some of the most exciting feats with grace and ease. The highlight of this dance, besides the balancing of or on objects, is also the depiction of the strength, nimbleness and absolute grace in the posture of the women as they travel back and forth each day from the communal well.
This dance is especially colorful due to the bright and vivid hues of the performers’ costumes. This is so because the culture of the Rajasthani people is to add color to the aridness of their surroundings through their clothes and ornaments.
Style and Variety
The women, irrespective of which tribe they belong to, wear ghaghra cholis along with colorful dupattas and silver ornaments. The ghaghra as opposed to the lehenga is slightly shorter but is ideal for dancing, especially one as tricky as the Bhawai, as it allows absolute freedom of movement while also safeguarding the wearer from tripping over their own clothes. The costume can be in any color the performer wishes to wear as long as it is vibrant. It is not uncommon to see the performer’s sporting palette that would otherwise be termed as stark contrasts, such as pink and yellow, red and blue and more. The cholis worn by the women are essentially fitted blouses that end at the waist. They are short-sleeved so as to give space to the extensive ornamentation for the arms. The whole ensemble is usually of the tie and dye print, which is one of the most popular craft forms in Rajasthan. Alongside, there are a number of embellishments on the choli as well as ghaghra, the most common being mirror work, and Gota Patti work. There are also colorful tassels in the form of little balls of thread that hang from the sleeves of the blouse or the waist.
The dupatta is the primary accessory for the performers. It is draped over the head and made to fall loosely around the shoulders. However, this is only the appearance the drape gives, the dupatta is actually is pinned to the choli at various points. The tassels on the border of the dupatta frame the woman’s face. The border itself is embellished heavily, in contrast to the body of the dupatta which is usually minimalistic.
The women wear silver bangles as well as silver armlets, a set of a dozen at least, on each arm. While this is the preferred accessory, women can also wear colorful glass bangles to go with the attire.
There is any number of ensembles that men who give the background score to the Bhawai dance can sport. The most common of these is the white or off-white dhoti kurta. This look is completed by the adornment of a colorful sleeveless jacket and a Kamarbandh. When the dhoti kurta is plain, the jacket and Kamarbandh become the heavily embellished elements of the ensemble. These can have mirror work and can be in a number of bright colors.
On the other hand, the menfolk involved in this dance also tend to wear colorful kurtas that end a little below the hips, paired with colorful pajamas. The common aspect of both these ensembles, however, is the colorful headdress. Tied using a colorful bandhani cloth, this headdress is a defining characteristic of Rajasthani men.
While this is a disparate element, the pots on the women’s heads also play a great part in enhancing the overall style of the dance. Since balancing the pots is the premise of Bhawai, the artists take great care to decorate the pots as beautifully as possible. Whether brass or clay, there is a lot of effort that goes into beautifying the pots. The way in which the vessels are decorated depends on the customs or beliefs of the tribe and the individual taste of the performers.
Present Day Scenario and Global Influence
Bhavai is rapidly declining as an art form. For this reason, the government of Rajasthan, as well as a number of non-governmental agencies, are investing a lot of time and effort into reviving and sustaining it. In recent years, it has become a major tourist attraction at the many fairs and festivals that are hosted in Rajasthan. For instance, at the Marwar and Desert Festivals of Rajasthan, Bhawai is a popular tourist attraction.
This attire is meant for occasional use and cannot be taken as daily wear. However, maintaining the garments is easy because they are made of cotton. Since Rajasthan is a hot and dry state, the people prefer wearing garments made of cotton which keeps the wearer cool and also absorbs sweat. These garments can easily be washed, as long as they are not heavy on embroidery. If the outfit has extensive and intricate embroidery, it is advisable to wash gently by the hand and not in the washing machine.
Facts and Trivia
The Kalbelia tribe, which is particularly adept at Bhawai, has another dance form to their credit that goes by the name of their community i.e. Kalbeliya.
To keep Bhawai alive, a non-profit by the name of Bhawai Lokkala Sansthan of Rajasthan has been set up.
When sporting earthen vessels, the number of vessels balanced on one’s head can go up to eleven or twelve.
The part of the dance where the women, along with the pots, balances on the brass plate/glass bottle/sword comes right at the end as an exhilarating climax to the dance.
The neighboring state of Gujarat has a folk theatre art form of the same name, in which men dress up in a variety of garbs to play the different characters of the play.
Bhavai is one of the traditional folk dances of Rajasthan. This is a very difficult form of dance and can only be performed by skilled artists. This dance basically involves women dancers balancing 8 to 9 pitchers on their heads and dancing simultaneously. This nail-biting, suspenseful dance, the well-skilled dancers balance a number of earthen pots or brass pitchers and then sway with the soles of their feet perched on the top of a glass and also some time on the edge of a naked sword or on the rim os a brass thali (plate) during the performance.
This artistic form of dance is believed to be originated in the neighboring state Gujarat and was soon picked up and adapted by the local tribal men and women and gave it a distinctive Rajasthani essence. This traditional folk dance, performed by the women of the Jat, Bhil, Raigar, Meena, Kumhar, and Kalbelia communities of Rajasthan evolved from the extraordinary quality and capacity of these communities to carry a number of pots of water on head over a long distance in the desert.
Bhavai dance Elements
The male musician, playing the background music is the accompaniment of this artistic Bhavai dancers. Generally, a melodious Rajasthani folk song is being sung by the musicians, adding to beauty of the Bhavai dance. Many instruments like pakhwaja, dholak jhanjhar, sarangi, harmonium are played while the performance of the Bhavai dance as a piece of background music. The dancers are adorned beautifully. They are dressed traditionally in colourful Rajasthani dresses, making the dance more attractive.
Bhavai Dance Celebration
On many occasions, Bhavai dance is performed. In festive occasions as well as in marriages also Bhavai dance performance can be seen. The government has taken all necessary measures to revive this fast dying tradition of folk dance. Many non-government organizations are also taking an active role in the promotion of this folk culture. This artistic folk dance is promoted in different parts of India as well as overseas also.Rajasthani bhavai dance group history, Bhawai dancers kalakar troupes videos costumes,bhawai nritya Rajasthan, cultural Bhawai folk dance of Rajasthan, Bhawai dance organizers, Bhawai theatre dancer artists Rajasthan,भवई डांस ग्रुप,भवई नृत्य