Folk Dances of Goa
Share this on
Dance form an integral part of the Goan way of life. Every village has its own maand which is the sacred spot reserved for folk dances and other cultural activities. But then, since maand is sacred, there are restrictions. It’s common for the maand to be located in centre of the village, usually the courtyard of the village head. However, since that limits the audience, the village folk dances and other cultural activities dances are sometimes staged in cities to entertain and propagate the village’s rich local culture and talent. Besides seeing the performance, one also gets to hear the melodious folk songs, in an undiluted, ancient dialect of the locality. Also on display might be the numerous musical instruments that provide the beat and rhythm, necessary for the flow of the dance routines.
1. The dalo is an ancient Goan folk dance performed predominantly by women which combines dance, drama and music. Women dressed in colourful traditional saris stand in two rows, facing each other and dance to the tune of melodious folk songs. Once the harvest is cut and stored, the dalo is held at the village maand (sacred ground) on moonlit nights in winter (in the Hindu month of paush).
2. Diwli Nach is a dance performed during shigmo (spring festival celebrated close to holi) while balancing an oil-lamp with five lit wicks on the head without any support. The trick is not to tilt or topple the lamp during the dance. Though a great amount of concentration is required to perform this task, the dancers go about it very naturally and gracefully.
3. Ghode Modni is a war dance performed in North Goa. The dance is held during shigmo by men brandishing swords and wearing a hobbyhorse which gives them the appearance of riding horses. The dance is said to depict the victorious returning home of Rane’s warriors after defeating the enemy. The costumes are worn after carrying out religious rituals, usually in a temple.
4. Goff is also performed during the shigmo festival. In the village of Poiguinim, a group of men move from house to house performing this dance. Colourful ropes are suspended from the roof of the matov (canopy). Each dancer holds one rope and to the rhythm of the song, performs the dance twining the ropes in the process to form a cord. Then they perform reverse movements to untwine the ropes. This dance for sure makes for a scintillating performance!
5. Mando is a folk song where men and women simulate a mock flirtation to songs that speak poignantly of yearning and rejections of love. The mando is sung by the Christians during family celebrations like weddings and feasts. The western influenced melodies are played on a violin, while a ghumot (local percussion instrument) provides the beat.
Text and Pics: Pantaleao Fernandes