For the Love of Dance! *Videos*

“Let us read and let us dance -

two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.”

- Voltaire

I started dancing when I was 3 and have loved it ever since. Seriously, I’ve been known to dance until my feet are bleeding. And boy, do I love the outfits! Gimme sequins and tap shoes and I’m ready to shuffle-off-the-buffalo!

I saw this same spirit and celebration of dance throughout my travels in South Asia – in northern and southern India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Here’re videos giving you a peek at each of these traditional South Asian dance styles. Enjoy!

North Indian Rajasthani

Rajasthani dance represents the folk culture of the villages. I especially like the Chari dance which is performed by women from the Gujjar community. The dance expresses happiness when the villagers go in search of water and find it.

The dancers individually choreograph the dance, using their hands to form subtle patterns. The dancers also balance brass pots on their heads filled with cottonseeds dipped in oil that are set on fire.


Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Rajasthani Dancing

South Indian Kerala

Mohiniyattom, originating in Kerala, is one of the 8 Indian classical dance forms. A very graceful dance, it is meant to be performed by women. In fact, the term “mohiniyattam” refers to a woman who enchants onlookers with graceful and sensuous body movements.

In mohiniyattom, dancers tell a story with their movements. For instance, the swaying of the hips is meant to suggest the swinging of palm trees and flowing rivers. The dancers wear a white sari embroidered with bright golden brocade at the edges.

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Kerala Dancing

Sri Lankan Kandyan

Kandyan dance, the “Ves,” was originally an exorcism ritual performed by Indian shamans who came to Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. Kandyan dance is only performed by men who wear an elaborate ves costume that is considered sacred.

The dance is traditionally performed to percussion only. The drums are joined by a small pair of cymbals and lyrics are sung in tune with the movements of the dancer.

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Kandyan Dancing

Classical Thai

Dance is the main dramatic art form in Thailand and can be divided into classical dancing and folk dancing. Classical Thai dance actually originated from the famous Aspara dancers of Cambodia’s Khmer culture.

Fon Sao Mai, the Silk Weaving Dance, is from northern and northeastern Thailand. It is performed in groups and has very slow, graceful, and almost meditative movements. Fon Sao Mai depicts women engaged in silk weaving.

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Thai Dancing

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 16th, 2012 and is filed under Erin Then.

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