Considered to be “Community and female oriented” is a traditional dance originating from the north of India called Ghoomar. This “folk dance” is supposed to have been developed in the state of Rajasthan. Apparently this dance form is said to be closely associated with the Rajput community. In addition, this dance form is said to be performed mainly by women. Furthermore, this traditional dance is normally performed during “marriages” by the bride. The costume used during this performance is extremely colourful and includes a “Ghagra” i.e. a typical Rajasthani long skirt.
a. History/origin of the Ghoomar:
Historically speaking, this dance form was first developed by a community called “Bhil” in Rajasthan.
Ghoomar, a Bhil tribe ritual to worship the goddess Sarasvati, was later adopted by other Rajasthani communities. At the time, the Bheels were a powerful community that was at war with the Rajput kings frequently. They battled for a while, but eventually reached a truce and started interacting. Local women from Rajputana performed Ghoomar; later, elite women from Rajput began taking part. At these dance performances, men were not allowed. During the reigns of Rajput kings, Ghoomar, which is typically performed by women on auspicious occasions, gained popularity in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
b. Costume used in the Ghoomar performance:
The costume generally used by the performer (female) in Ghoomar includes a long Rajasthani skirt called the Ghagra along with a choli which has been embroidered using beautiful mirror work. Ghunghat are worn by women during Ghoomar to cover their faces. With the various regions of Rajasthan, the dance form develops a different style and a slight change in attire. In addition, the costume also includes beautiful jewelry as well as bangles worn on the wrist.
c. Music used while performing Ghoomar:
The music used during a Ghoomar performance basically includes popular Rajasthani folk songs that have a high tempo. In regions bordering Gujarat, garba-style steps are used for Ghoomar, while slower beats are used in Dhaulpur Karauli Braj kshetra. Similar variations in attire and dancing styles can be seen in Udaipur, Kota, Bundi, etc. Such is the tempo of the music used in this dance form that at times a performance may even last a full night.
d. Training availability and dance technique involved in Ghoomar:
In terms of technique this dance form essentially involves a group of dancers moving in a circular direction in complete synchronisation with the Rajasthani folk song being played. In addition, the performers while dancing also tend to (in between) join their hands and clap. Furthermore, a folk song titled “Mhari Ghoomar Chhe Nakhrali” is very commonly used during Ghoomar performances. To preserve and advance Ghoomar folk dance, Maharani Rajmata Goverdhan Kumari of Santrampur founded the Gangaur Ghoomar Dance Academy in 1986. For her contributions to the arts, the Indian government gave her the fourth-highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri, in 2007. As for training schools, there are a number of them across the country that provide coaching for those interested in learning this energetic dance form.