Jammu Kashmir has few of the most captivating forms of performing arts in India that has captured the imaginations of one and all. These dances have become a non detachable part of this state's culture and are performed at almost all festivals and celebrations. There are special dances for almost all occasions like birth celebrations, wedding ceremonies, crop harvesting. Be it the dances of J&K or the music, they have this special aura about them that make you feel as a part of the performance even if you are just a spectator watching it in front of your eyes or sitting miles away enjoying it through media.
This is one of the most famous dance forms that is practiced in J&K. The dance has been a part of Kashmiri life from ancient times. In the capital city, it is pronounced as 'Row' but in villages, it is pronounced as 'Ruf'. This dance is performed as a welcoming dance for the spring season. You will see most number of performances during the prelude of spring season. The dance is clearly inspired by bee and it is the lovemaking of the bee that is portrayed in the dance. In the dance, two or four groups are formed consisting of 2 to 3 charming women. They stand facing each other and hold the hand of the adjacent partner. The women together sway their feet forward and then to back. The song that is sung during the performance is in the form of question and answer form where one group questionand the other respond to it in a rhythmic way.
Dhamali is a devotional dance performed by men in Kashmir to invoke the blessing of the gods. The occasions of the dance are ceremonial ones, but it is very popular with the pilgrims going on Ziarat (shrine). The flag bearer leads the dancing party in procession. The flag of 'Alam' is fixed in the ground and the dancers form a circle around the pole and perform the dance.
nHIkkat is a playful dance of the young boys and girls in Kashmir. The young ones form couples and the partners, interlocking their arms, hold each other's hands. Joining their feet close, they bend their bodies and heads backwards. Facing each other, they go round and round with perfect precision in a fast dizzy spin. They also sing of their innocent and affectionate relations with their elders. A unique part is that no musical instrument is played while performing the Hikkat.
Bachha Nagma Dance
Bachha Nagma, also known as 'Bachha gyavaun' means 'adolescent melodious voice. The dance is quite famous among people here and is an important cultural event during marriage ceremonies or any cultural celebrations. The dance is performed only by boys or by men dressed as boys. The attire of the dancers has a resemblance with the dress that is worn by Kathak dancers. The dance group has six to seven members consisting of one lead singer. Generally, the dancers themselves are the singers and since most of them are boys, the songs are quite soft sounding and create a soothing environment.
Performed mostly during the time of Lori festival, this is a highly professional dance that asks for high levels of skills and practice. A model of peacock that is made of bamboos and colored paper is carried by every group and every member has a stick in his hand. During the dance, the performers hit the stick in the hand of other person in different postures that is not as simple as it looks. The dance is really very energetic and one must surely witness it when he is in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kud is a typical community dance performed in the middle mountain ranges of Jammu. During the rainy seasons, when the maize is harvested, the villagers come down from the nearby hills and gather in the vicinity of the local deity - "the Gramdevta". To express their gratitude for protecting their crops, cattle and children from natural calamities, the farmers dance Kud for the deity. Men, women and children, attired in their best, gather around a bonfire for the nightlong festivities.
Phumania is an invocative dance that is performed in the villages of Jammu and Kashmir, in which worshippers of "Gagaihl" expresses their gratitude to the deity. The villagers dance and pray to the deity to protect their cattle & children from the natural calamities. The dance is performed only by the menfolk.