Garba (dance)

Garba (dance)

Garba (Gujarati: ગરબા "Garbā"), is an Indian form of dance that originated in the Gujarat region. Unlike other famous types of Indian dance such as bharatanatyam and odissi, garba is much more similar to Western social dancing than the presentational style of the others. The greatest difference between garba and western social dancing is that it is circular and is religious in origin. The meditative circular movement and spiraling dance has similarities to other ancient spiritual practices.

The name "garba" comes from the Sanskrit term "Garba Deep". "Garba", when translated, most closely resembles the English preposition "inside". It actually means 'womb' and "Deep" is a small earthenware lamp. For this reason, many traditional garbas are performed around a central lit lamp. Traditionally, it is performed during a nine-day festival called Navarātrī (Gujarātī નવરાત્રી Nava = 9, rātrī = nights). Traditionally, either the lamp (the "Garba Deep"), or an image of Amba is placed in the middle of the concentric rings as an object of veneration, thereby delineating the dance. People dance around the deity clapping rhythmically. At every step they gracefully bend sideways, the arms coming together in sweeping gestures, up and down, left and right, each movement ending in clap.Modern garba is also heavily influenced by raas (Gujarātī: ડાંડીયા "Ḍānḍīyā"), a dance traditionally performed by men. The merger of these two dances has formed the high-energy dance that is seen today.


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