Esthetic and symbolic value combined with seamless movements and synchronization, this beautiful art of dancing is seen in almost all the parts of Goa. Goa with it’s rich cultural heritage has not one but many dance forms. People from different tribes and castes, everybody from children, to men, to women take part in these dances. It brings the whole community together as one big family. Folk dances are a must for every cultural festival here in Goa. The folk dances may have been preserved but there are some dance forms that have been influenced by the Portuguese rule. This brilliant blend of cultural traditions gives Goa its unique character.
Dekhni, Dhalo, Fugdi, kunbi, Goff, Mando, Divlyan nach are some of the folk dances in Goa. They all have their own stories to tell.
Dekhni is a dance performed by Christian girls dancing to the beat of the folk drum of Goa-ghumat. It is to portray the life of devadasis who performed dances in the Hindu temples to appease gods. The most famous dekhni song is ‘hanv saiba poltodi vetam’. Dhalo on the other hand is performed by village women on ‘paushya’ month. This month begins with the new moon, therefore the women dance under the moonlit night. They dance to konkani or marathi music. It is danced to serve as a prayer of protection for their households.
Dances are performed on folk celebrations and even on religious occasions. Fugdi is one of them. This is a dance performed mainly in the Konkan region. It is performed during ganesh chaturthi and vrata or after dhalo. The dance is started with the invocation of Hindu gods. The pace might be slow at the beginning but don’t underestimate that, it catches up real quick towards the end. There are different forms of this dance as well such as girki, Katti, rahat and more. The stamina to perform these dances takes massive amount of skill!
When it comes to blend of Goan with Portuguese influence, the dance form that comes into mind is mando. In this dance not only the women but the men also take part. The men and women wear formal clothes and dance in beautiful synchronization to harmonious music with themes mostly of love. Another dance which needs credit is the ‘divlyan nach’ or lamp dance. This dance needs a lot of courage and definitely not to forget practice. It is performed during shigmo festival. The dance needs the women to carry heavy brass lamps with burning wicks on their head. It is performed on folk instruments like the ghumat and harmonium. It is popular in the central and southern parts of goa.
These are a few dances from the very unique and exquisite land of goa. These dances take tremendous hard work and dedication. Women showcase their mighty skill with these dances and bring joy and happiness to everyone around them. Their footwork, hand movements, their props that they use, not your ordinary way of dancing but a very amazing and beautiful way of portraying the lives of goan people and their culture.
Written by: Genevieve Fernandes