Dance in Goa

The state of Goa is rich in culture and heritage, and art - especially performing art in Goa - in a unique feature of the state. Though all these forms fall under the wide classification of dance, drama and music, yet the Dance in Goa has a distinct Goan flavor and can be easily be distinguished from those of the other states.

The most significant part about the Dance in Goa is the fact that it colorfully illustrates the unity in diversity of Goan heritage. Moreover, dance in Goa is very ethnic; it is an amalgamation of the Indian aspects with the imported Western one. As a direct result of this fusion, various forms of dances have evolved, depending on the interpretation and expression of the social trends and techniques over the ages. So, different dance forms grew alongside the classical dance style. Each occasion has a separate dance; and each of these dances is distinctly different from the others

The Dekni is essentially performed by Women and is a traditional dance form. The music to which this dance is performed is has ingredients of both the East and the West. So the music is both ethnical and contemporary. The chief folk dances in Goa are the Fugdi and Dhalo and the Kunbi. The Kunbi, however, has elements of tribal dance to it as well. Their dance belongs to the era before the Portuguese conquest. The other unique feature about this dance is the fact that it is devoid of religious content and is mainly social. The Morulem is a folk dance of the rearward communities, and is performed on the Shigmo. The Lamp Dance too is a unique specialty of Goa. Performed chiefly by women during the time of the Shigmo, it is danced by balancing brass lamps with burning wicks on the head. It is popular mainly in southern and central Goa.

The Goff too is a folk dance. It is performed by the Goan Peasants after the harvest as a manifestation of their delight and felicity. The dance is performed during Shigmo with colorful cords, in a technique by which the dancers by dancing create braids and other patterns. The forming of these braids happens during the first half of the dance. The second half of the dance is dedicated to unraveling the patterns made by using an opposite rhythmic movement. The songs that are sung for the dance are all dedicated to Lord Krishna. This dance has an affinity with Gujarati tribal dance forms.

Dance in Goa also comes in the form of plays and dance-dramas. One of these types is the Jagar, which is performed by the Gawdas. Another is the Dhangar. The Dhangar is a Navratri dance. It is a fusion of adoration and dance - in essence, almost like the dance performed by the Sufis. The other prominent ones include Corredinho Dance, Fugdi Dance, Ghode Modni, Goff Dance, Mussal Dance and Romal Dance.

The Dashavatara too is a major genre. Dashavatara directly translates as 'ten incarnations' and is associated with Lord Vishnu. Opinions are divided as the origin of the dance. Some believe it to have evolved from "Yakshagana"; others consider it to have emerged from "Kuchipudi". The subject involves the theft of the "Vedas". It is discussed by the Sutradhar (stage manager), Brahmin figures, women actors representing the rivers, actors playing Lord Brahma (the Creator) and Goddess Saraswati (the goddess of learning), and the demon Shankhasur.

Performed by the Kshatriyas of Chandor, the Mussal Dance is performed as a celebration of Victory. It was first performed to celebrate the victory of Harihar, the Hindu King of Vijaynagar, after he defeated the Cholas in the early 14th century. The dance is so called because it is danced with Mussals (pestles). The dance constitutes 4 couplets while the main dance uses 22 couplets. Though the Kshatriyas finally converted to Christianity, yet they have preserved this cultural heritage. The Mussal dance is now performed on the second day of the carnival.

Performed during the Shigmo, the Romat Dance is a thanks-giving observance. It is performed in a dance-cum-procession style by the people of northern and central Goa. It is an extremely crammed, clamorous and vibrant affair. It is performed with huge banners, ceremonial umbrellas, festooned sticks. The procession proceeds towards a temple or to the house of the landlord to the earsplitting beats of huge drums called Dhols and Tashas.

Last Updated on: 20th March 2013