Music and Style
Garba is a dance form originated in Gujarat, also known as ‘Garbha Deep’, which means ‘womb’ and ‘earthen lamps’. It is a joyful style of dance, based on a circular pattern and characterized by a sweeping action from side to side. Garba performances often include singing and musical accompaniment provided by Dhol, Dholak, hand claaping and assorted idiophones, such as cymbals.
History and Essence
Garba dance celebrates fertility, honour woman hood and pay respect to an array of mother goddesses. It was traditionally performed around Garbha Deep, representing life just as fetus in the mother’s womb. The dance form worships the divinity and power of Goddess Durga or Amba. A perspective on the symbolic form of Garba is that as the dancers move around in circles making circular movements with their hands and feet, it represents the circle of life, which moves from life to death to rebirth, leaving only the Goddess unmoved, unchanging and invincible. Another symbolism is that it is performed in a ring form that is quite similar to the Sufi dancers, who too move in a spiral.
Different from Dandiya
This dance form is often confused with Dandiya, which is another dance form of Gujarat but was originated in Vrindavan. The major difference between these two dance forms is that, Garba is performed in circular movements with hand and feet, while Dandiya is played with colorful sticks.
The most beautiful and eye-catching thing about this dance form is the vibrant and colorful attire. Men wear a Kediyu, a short round Kurta with Kafni Pajamas and Pagdi on the head. While the women wear Chaniya Choli, a traditional Gujarati tree-piece outfit comprising of a blouse, a long flared skirt and an embellished dupatta. The whole costume is teamed up with silver or black metal nechlace, big earrings, Kamarband, Bajuban and Maang tikka.
Garba is a very popular dance form around the glob, especially in US, UK and Canada. Around 20 universities around the globe hold Garba competitions each year. It can be seen that people from most countries like to dance to these lively and peppy beats. The modern version is a fusion of Garba and Dandiya Raas. The mix of two has made it a very popular dance form amongst the younger generation too.
A powerful yet graceful Garba performance was done in Dreamcatcher 2019 by the students of Studio Antara.