Dandak Rask or Dandiya Raas
It is the distinctive dance of Saurashtra. It is refered in the Mahabharata and is the Prime element of Gopi Culture.
It is performed on festivals of Sharadpunam, Navratri, Jalzilni Ekadashi, Satam Atham (Gokul Asthami) etc. Boys, youth and young men with wooden or metal sticks having coloured flower balls at its end, dance with rhythm in varieties of ways and manners such as “Hinch”, “Kervo” etc. Dandiya Raas includes several styles such as dodhiya, Panchiya, athiya, Bariya, Bhetiya, Naman, Mandae. The Dance itself creates swastik, Trishul, Dhaja being Shakti’s symbol.
Generally it was played by man but now woman also play this raas with their menfolk.
The Aayer, Kanbi and Rajput of Saurashtra have mastery over this art exhibiting vibrant forwad, reverse and turning movements of footsteps and body-movements in bending, sitting down or getting up and gaining speed and rhythm. Raas is played with music of Dhol and Shernai in hinchtaal.
TALA AND LALIT RASKA
If time is measured with clapping of hands instead of sticks it is called Tala Rask. This is also called Garbi in Saurashtra where only the males participate.
If the players measure the time by different measures with their hands and refrain by their feet, it is called lalit Rasak.
The Bharwad and Rabari community have their variety of Raas which they call as” Dhoka,” In this variety, mostly songs are absent.
Dandiya Raas of Mer Community
Mer Raas: Mers are a virile backward community which migrated to Saurashtra. They are at present performed in Porbander and They are handsome and exhibit martial valour during the course of their dance. Before commencing they throw gulal over their body and dresses to exhibit joy, They use thick long sticks (Parona). This Raas is devoid of Song. The Mers from Dandiyas similar to the blow of a sword and their act of taking fudadi is simply astonishing. Their strength and speed indicates their sturdiness and vigorons life.
The Mer people also play Raas with the clapping of palms in which young and old all join and dance freely. This type of Raas is called Chabkhi.
GOLF GUNGTHAN SOLANGA RAAS
It is popular dance of koli and kanbi community of Saurashtra. Strings of varied are tied to a ring hanged at the ceiling. The other end of the string is handed to the players who begin with Garbi and then play Dandiya Raas. During the raas, several modes such as Bethak, Fundadi, Tappa are played and then each one plays alternatively in which one comes out and other goes in circle. The strings first get knitted and then released. It is popularly called Athanga Nritya in Guarat.
Raas Raas is played by men whereas raasda are played by women,or men and women together. Raasda is a kind of Tala-Rasak. Raas has element of music and singing dominant in it. Ek Tali and Teen Tali Raasda of women are well known today. It is a kind of a Garba. Raas and Garbi are dominated by men, whereas Rasda and Garba are dominated by women. They are performed in celebrations of Vrata, wedding, and religious festivals. Love songs of Radha and Krishna are sung in Rasda. Women play Rasda with tal of Tali or Chapti and with Tal of feet supported by Dhol or without music.
GARBA AND GARBI
Garba is a popular dance of folk of Gujarat since ancient times. It is connected with Shakti-Puja (worship of goddess having powers over all). Its origin is believed to be the worship of goddess Jagdamba. Symbolically, Garbo means an earthen pot with many holes around it. The word “garbo” is derieved from “Garbh-deep”. Subsequent derivation “Garbho” and then finally “garbo garba” means “ghado”(pot). Which is imaginatively termed as “Brahmand”. A lamp lit within “Ghado” is indicative of continuity of life. Thus garbo is a symbol of worship of and devotion to a “Adya-Shakti” who is the mother of the universe: Jagdamba.
During the nine nights of Navratri, in village streets as well as urban localities, Garba are played after hours of cowdust upto midnight. Jwara are sown in “daliya” made os dry khakhara leaves as a symbol of Mataji. Ghee and oil lamps are lit in front of Mataji’s Sthanak which is put in the chowk. Women play Garba in circle around the godess. Garba are prayers in praise of devotion to Mataji. Musical instruments like Dhol, khanjari. Manjira, Harmonium are used.
Garba songs are composed by folk poet and are lyrical poems sung in praise of Lord Krishna. Singing in chorns is an invariable accompaniment of garba Nrtiya. Other forms of Garba are Deevo, Ghado and Garbi.