Folk Dances of Telangana

Folk Dances of Telangana

dance forms are famous in all over India performed by Telangana tribal culture. Most of all Folk Dances of Telangana are famous all over the India. Perini shivatandavam Folk Dances of Telangana is famous all over the India, it has unique way of praising Lord Shiva and performed with Great Zeal. Here are details of Folk Dances of Telangana:-

  1. Perini Sivatandavam Folk Dances of Telangana:-

Perini Sivatandavam or Perini Thandavam is a typical form of dance that belongs to the warrior clan of 11th century AD. This is actually a male dance form performed in the Shiva Temple as an invocation to the Lord Rudra. The 11th century rulers of Kakatiya, Ganapathi Deva, Pratapa Rudra Deva of Warangal and Rani Rudrama Devi were all worshippers of Lord Shiva and tremendously helped the warrior dance form. This art, after the fall of Kakatiyas, disappeared from the scene due to lack of patronage.

History of Perini Sivatandavam Dance:-

Perini Sivatandavam which is an ancient dance form from South India originated and prospered in Andhra Pradesh during the Kakatiya dynasty. It was Kakatiya Temples (1100 – 1300 AD) which inspired Guru Nataraja Ramakrishna to recreate “Perini Sivatandavam”. A meticulous study of Nrittaratnavali of Jayapa Senapati, a dance treatise written in Ganapathi Deva’s (1199 – 1261 AD) courts, and the sculptural representation on the thousand pillared temples and shrines at Palampet and Ghanapur in Warangal district provide important insights into a powerful and vigorous masculine dance style that was performed to inspire and invigorate warriors before going to the battle field. The Perini dance form flourished during the Kakatiya empire and then nearly died out after the fall of the Kakatiya empire. It was the late Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna (1923 – 2011) who was responsible for the resurrection of this 700 year old Perini dance form, along with a few other ancient spiritual dances, Agama Nartanams and Navajanardana Parijatam. His Perini Institute in Warangal, created along with the support of other lovers of Telangana art forms, was established at the campus of the Pothana Vignana Mandiram.

Performance of Perini Sivatandavam Dance:-

Perini Sivatandavam is believed to be the most invigorating male dance form. This pure form of dance incorporates Vira, Raudra rasas of Lord Shiva whose spirits are invoked by dancers. This dance form mainly involves five elements including Water, Air, Wind, Earth and Fire and celebrating the mystic “Om”. One of the interesting parts about this form is the music that is used. The use of Bells, Drums, Conch and Rhythmic Syllabus change the entire atmosphere helping the dancers to reach a point of frenzy. Perini Sivatandavam is mainly the dance of warriors and derives its name from “prerana”, which means inspiration. The warriors performed this dance before the idol of Lord Nataraja, as a mode of worship, before leaving for the battlefield with the motto of invoking Shiva to dance through them. The dance begins with Gargara and ends with Shiva Panchamukha Shabda Nartanam in praise of Lord Shiva. The dancers perform energetically to the rhythm of drums. This continues till they feel the power of Shiva in their bodies. This dance can be said as both of spiritual and artistic significance. This particular dance form is in vogue and was promoted in the reign of kings of Kakatiya Dynasty in Warangal. This is well evident from the fine and detailed sculptures of this dance at Ramappa temple in Palampet.

  1. Oggu Katha Folk Dances of Telangana:-

Oggu Katha or Oggukatha is a traditional folklore singing praising and narrating the stories of Hindu gods Mallana, Beerappa and Yellamma. It originated among the Yadav and Kuruma Golla communities, who devoted themselves to the singing of ballads in praise of Lord Shiva (also called Mallikarjuna).These tradition-loving and ritual-performing community moves from place to place, narrating the stories of their caste gods. Oggus are the traditional priests of the Yadavas and perform the marriage of Mallanna with Bhramaramba. The narrator and his chorus i.e. two narrators-help in dramatizing the narration as very often, they transform themselves into two characters. The dramatization of the narrative is what gives the Oggu Katha its predominant place in the ballad tradition in Telangana, where Oggu Katha prevalent. The singers visit the shrine of Komrelly Mallanna Temple every year.

  1. Chindu Bhagavatam:-

Chindu Yakshaganam, flourished across villages of Telangana. The performers, called ‘Yakshulu’ also has varied names like Nagasulu, Kurmapulu, Sanulu and Bhogalu. They later earned the name of ‘Jakkulu’. Poet Srinatha referred to a character in one of his works, as ‘Jakkula Purandhrini’. Pendela Nagamma and Pendela Gangamma were two historical names. The court dancer of Kakatiya Pratapa Rudra was Machaladevi. It is said she got her family history penned in the format of ‘Yakshagana’ and got it staged in the fort of Orugallu (present day Warangal) in the presence of court scholars. As of now this tradition can be found only in Telangana. These groups were named as ‘Bharatulu’, ‘Bahuroopulu’, ‘Saindhavulu’, ‘Dasarulu’ and ‘Chindu Madigalu’. The texts they got written by scholars were presented in simple poetic meter. Though at one time this was for solo presentation by women, slowly male characters too were added. But the style of rendition by ‘Gante Bhagavatulu’ and ‘Chilukala Bhagavathulu’ became popular and became yardstick for this art. ‘Chindu-Jogitalu’ is one sect whose exclusive audience were Madigas. A Jogita is supposed to have exclusive right to dance in praise of God. Since then the word ‘Jogu’ has become a prefix to their names like ‘Jogu Chindula Ramavva’, ‘Jogu Ellavva’, ‘Jogu Chinnabai’, ‘Jogu Pooboni’ and so on. Subsequent artistes carried the legacy of art of their ancestors. ‘Jogu’ is now a signature word for artistes who are pursuing this art. Over a period it has become a sub-caste of Madigas. This art ‘Chindu Bhgavatam’ was being mainly catered by Madiga community of those areas. They never moved beyond this circle, for, the so called higher castes never allowed them to present Bhagavatam shows in their areas. The character ‘Yellamma’, considered as avatara of Goddess Parvati was always highlighted and only women played this role unlike men who played female roles in the Bhagavatams. They cover all the major epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana or Bhagavata. They have stories that surround local Goddesses too especially ‘Yellamma’.

  1. Gusadi Folk Dances of Telangana:-

Gusadi dance is performed by “Raj Gonds” in Adilabad tribals(Gondulu). Deepavali is the biggest festival for the Raj Gonds of Adilabad district. As the harvest is over and the season is cool and congenial the Gonds dressed in colourful costumes and decorated with ornaments go to neighbouring villages in troupes, singing and dancing. Such troupes are called Dandari dance troupes. Each troupe consist of twenty to forty members. ‘Gusadi’ is a part of Dandari and consists of two to five members. This starts on the full moon day and goes on till the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Deepavali. Each member puts on a turban of peacock feathers and horns of the deer, artificial beard and moustaches and goatskin to cover the body. Dappu, tudumu, pipri and kalikom are the accompaniments. The Dandari troupe dance accompanied by beats of gumela reaches its climax with regulated steps and rhythm in a circular form.

  1. Tolu Bommalata Folk Dances of Telangana-

Tholu bommalata is also called as ” Shadow Puppet ” tradition in Both Andhrapredesh and Telangana areas. Its performers the part of a group of wandering entertainers and peddlers who pass through villages during the course of a year and offer to sing ballads, tell fortunes, sell amulets, perform acrobatics, charm snakes, weave fishnets, tattoo local people and mend pots. This ancient custom, which for centuries before radio, movies, and television provided knowledge of Hindu epics and local folk tales, not to mention news, spread to the most remote corners of the subcontinent. Tholu Bommalata literally means “the dance of leather puppets” (tholu – leather and bommalata – puppet dance). The puppeteers make up some of the various entertainers who perform all night and usually reenact various stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The musical instruments consists of a harmonium, a portable keyboard organ that sometimes serves only as a drone; a long, two-headed South Indian drum with tapering ends (mrudangam); strings of bells worn on the ankles and wrists; and pairs of finger cymbals. A wooden shoe, a type with stilts is used to keep its wearer above the mud during the rainy season, was struck against schoolchildren’s seating planks to create dramatic clacking and banging sound effects for fight scenes.

  1. Lambadi Folk Dances of Telangana:-

Lambadi is the folk dance of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, which originated at Anupu Village. It is a dance form in which the tribal women dance in harmony to the tunes of the drums played by tribal males. It is done to offer respect to their God and worship for an excellent yield. Lambadis are basically semi-nomadic tribes and they are now slowly but surely heading towards civilization. Folk Dances of TelanganaThey are also known as Banjaras or Sengalis. Lambadi dance is usually restricted to the tribal females and the participation of males is only on the odd occasion. For performing Lambadi, tribal women dress in colourful costumes and jewellery. The dance is motivated by the actions connected with everyday tasks like harvesting, planting and sowing. This dramatic traditional tribal dance is centuries old and became more dramatic and colourful.

Origin of Lambadi Dance:-

Lambadi dance originated from Rajasthan some hundreds of years ago and settled in Andhra Pradesh during the period of King Rana Prathap. The precise and exact history of Lambadis is not identified, but the common belief is that they fought against Muhammad of Ghor in favour of Prithvi Raj Chauhan. The path of the Lambadis can be confirmed from the language they speak. They make use of the words from Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi languages, and also from the local language of the area they belong to. Formerly, the Banjaras had presence in Rajasthan. However, later on, they migrated to southern India. They established themselves in the southern or central parts of the country for trade and agricultural purposes. As such, their connections with their original community and Rajasthan gradually loosened in order to adapt to the local culture. The spoken language of Lambadis is a mix of Hindi, Rajasthani and Marathi. In this dance music is very attractive and costumes are very colourful and dressy. The strikingly beautiful and bright costumes of the dancers embroidered with glass beads and mirrors and ornate jewellery creatively depicts the rich blend of the two diverse cultures. This dance is performed to celebrate festivals like Holi, Dussehra, Deepawali and other happy occasions.

Style of Dance:-

Lambadi dance is encouraged by the activities and actions deals with the daily chores like planting, harvesting and sowing. On the festive occasions of Dussehra, Deepawali and Holi, the city Banjaras move from one house to another enjoying their dance and accepting alms. Banjara women, in the numbers of around 20-30 dress themselves in vibrant and colourful costumes. They have nice shining vessels of brass containing water and use to carry on either waists or heads to perform a nice group dance. Their beautiful and elegant actions with waists and hands are surely an attraction to all the onlookers. These Lambadi Gypsy women from Andhra Pradesh have their own one of its kind dance form presented by wearing by gaudy dresses and slow movements of hands. Their swaying hand movements are complimented by men acting as singers and drummers. The fine womanly actions of the Dancers are pleasant and rhythmic. This social dance by females is inspired with fervent grace and lyricism, making it less wild than other dance forms of Gypsies all over the world. The arresting magnificence of the dancers lies in the delicate sensuality of the entertainer. On playing the drums, Lambadi dance boosts impetus and steaminess. To prop up the females, the males habitually start dancing with their partners. This is a fascinating element of this dance. Lambadi dance form gives significance to expressions too. Since it is a dance of the females, it is neither vigorous nor erotic.

  1. Burrakatha Folk Dances of Telangana:–

Burrakatha is a Telugu art of story telling.  In the coastal Andhra region, burrakatha is called jangam katha. In Telangana, it is also known as tamboorakatha or saradakatha.  In Rayalaseema, it is known as Tandana katha or suddulu. Usually, this art is practiced by a team of two or three people from the same family of certain castes/tribes like picchuguntla or jangalu.  Burrakatha narrators are also known as Saradagallu.  In this form of narration the main storyteller tells the story while playing a tambura (a stringed instrument) and dancing wearing andelu (anklets).   One or two associates or sidekicks assist the narrator with small drums called gummeta or budike.   There are differences between the Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema Burrakathas.  Language is distinctly different from each other.  Telangana narrators use budige tambura, while Rayalaseema and Andhra narrators use padige tambura with a hood. Some use brass drums and others use earthen drums.  Telangana narrators consider their tambura as goddess Sarada and hence they are known as Saradagallu.  Telangana narrators do the performance while sitting, where as Andhras tell stories while standing.  In Rayalaseema the main narrator tells the story while holding a stick, while his associates play tambura and drums.

Origins of Burrakatha:-

Jangam folklore (kulapuraanam): One day four founding fathers of the jangam tribe went to forest to hunt for rats.  While they were digging for rats, the supreme God Parameswara and his wife goddess Parvati saw them.  Goddess Parvati felt sorry for their low quality of life and requested the supreme Lord to give them a better life. God explained her that they don’t deserve to have a better life because of their bad nature. However, goddess Parvati insisted.  Then Lord Parameswara suggested that they test these four men and then decide their fate.  Lord Parameswara became an old man and Goddess Parvati became a beautiful young woman.  They both together went to these tribal men and suggested a better way of life.  The four men ridiculed and pushed the old man aside and attempted to rape the young woman.  Goddess Parvati got angry at their behavior and cursed them to become beggars and nomads.  Since then they became beggars and nomads and continued their uncivilized life and came to known as jangam (nomad, not stable, as opposed to stavara -stable) tribe/caste.  This tribe took Virashaivism religion under the influence of Basava of Karnataka (12th century).  For the livelihood they continued begging and started burrakatha, in which they narrated the stories of Lord Shiva.  Thus, the meaning of jangama acquired the meaning of “the worshipper of Lord Shiva,” “one who wears linga” and so on.  After the Virashaivism disintegrated, most of them gave up the principles of Virashaivism and started eating non-vegetarian food and drink alcohol.  Contrary to the principles of Virashaivism, Jangalu are divided into various castes such as Budigejangam, Bedajangam, Malajangam, Madigajangam, Urajangam, Ganayatajangam, Shivajangam, Itamukkalajangam, Pirikijangam and so on.  However, Jangamdevaras still follow some principles of Virashaivism.

Modern History of Burrakatha:-

During the independence movement (first half of 20th century) in the Indian continent, Burrakatha was brought into mainstream in Andhra Pradesh and was used for political purposes.  Burrakatha was banned in Madras province by the British government and in the independent Hyderabad kingdom by Nizam government, because the purpose of this form of narration was to enlighten people of the current political situation in various political meetings. One of the associates used to be a political commentator and the other a humorist. Popular artists in the field were Pendyala Venkateswarrao, Paruchuri Ramakotayya, Sirivisetti Subbarao, Kosuri Punnayya, Govardhana, Kakumanu Subbarao, Davuluru, Chintalal Suryanarayana etc. Women also formed groups, e.g., Moturi Udayam, Chintala Koteswaramma, Mahankali Lakshmi etc.

  1. Dappu Folk Dances of Telangana:-

Complementary to the North Indian dance Dandora, Dappu Nrityam is a reputed dance form in the Telangana. Dappu is known by different names in various parts of the state—such as Tapetta and Palaka. Interestingly, this dance form derives its name from the melodiously rhythmic musical instrument Dappu. This is a drum shaped like a tambourine. It creates a rhythm so loud, that it can only be softened by the chime of ankle bells worn by a formation of 15 to 20 dancers. A rounded frame made from the wood and bark of a neem tree is used to make the framework for this popular instrument. The skeleton of Dappu is then covered with the skin of a buffalo or goat. Two sticks are used to beat this drum in order to create that wonderfully sweet music.

Origin of Dappu Dance:-

Unknown to many, this dance form has originated from a small district in Andhra Pradesh called Nizamabad and is well-known among the dances in the South. The performers wear colorful and bright costumes accessorized by attractive finery. The dance is usually performed at festivals and other important events. This dance form has evolved through the ages and was once a popular folk dance practiced in the courts of the royalty. Over time, it reached the homes and public venues of the common masses and is now a way of expression—of joy, celebration and revelry connected with weddings and various festivals. Dappu dancers can be seen accompanying all festive processions, jatras and competitions. Showcasing the powers of percussive dancing, Dappu celebrates through lively steps, colorful make up and attractive costumes.

Style of Dance:-

The dance form and its styles are largely dependent on steps chosen by the performers each time. Dappu is often performed in large groups, when dancers manage to create a soulful and sweet ambience through the melodious notes of their ankle bells. The songs sung during the performance are sometimes erotic and choric. Moving to the beats set by the notes of these songs, the dancers indulge in various pre-defined steps and styles such as Bird Steps, Tiger Steps and Horse steps. As the drummers and Dappu dancers stop to showcase their skills at village centers or at processions, they are cheered on by onlookers and other revelers. They form a circle and dance to the beat of the Dappu on stage and walk in straight rows of two while in procession. The different “adagus” include one forward and one backward (okka sira dappu), side-long moves (ata dappu), moving sin sideway with intermittent leaps (samidika dappu), one legside-way, two leaps upwards (madil dappu), circular way (gundam dappu) and so on. The titillating music accompanying this dance form is well aligned to match footsteps and dance movements of performers. This makes it a visual treat for all beholders. Some of the common forms of rhythmic movements accompanying this dance form include Chaturasa, Mirsa, Trisra, Khandagati and Sankeema.  All these rhythms are a conglomeration of seventeen different beats and make up an integral part of the dance. In recent times, Dappu dancers have started using several traditional talas like trisra, misra and caturasra. The most common are the ‘Police debba’ (which is used during parades), cavu debba (used for funerals) and the pelli debba (used during marriages).

Music in Dappu:-

The Dappu instrument has a round framework and it is typically made from the wood of neem tree. The wooden framework is covered with locally toughened leather to make it more durable, stronger and to aid in the emission of striking sounds. The preparation of leather before it is fixed on the Dappu is an elaborate process and requires professional expertise and experience of local musical instrument makers. The “dhup” or the Dappu probably gets its name from the unique sounds that emanate when the instrument is beaten using two sticks that are uniquely created for the instrument. The first stick is called the sire and it’s held in the right hand. It is 2 inches thick and 9 inches long. In the left hand is the sitikena or chitikena pulla. It is almost of the same length but thinner. These sticks succeed in creating a rhythmic beat of unmatched quality. The steps and music of the dance vary depending on the occasion and purpose. For example, the ‘laya’ and ‘debba’ performed at rituals, marriages and village festivals are different from those played at funerals. The music for Dappu dancers is provided by tablas, cymbals and the popular harmonium. Their foot tapping notes and drum beats set the stage alive and provide the motivation required for dancers looking for hours of fun and entertainment. As the dance begins, the members of the Dappu team trigger off the chanting of Pradhana Dappu. The movements of dancers during these chants are delicate and take place at an extremely slow speed—making this dance form unique and more exclusive than the other traditional folk dances of Andhra Pradesh.

  1. Rela relare Folk Dances of Telangana- Perform in Mannem Near Bhadrachalam

10.Mayuri Folk Dances of Telangana-      Perform in Khammam tribal areas.

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