Despite influence of Western music, the dance continues to attract many
Navaratri celebrations are unimaginable without Dandiya Raas and Garba, the two traditional Gujarati dance forms that have enveloped people of all ages, castes and creeds in its embrace. With many organisations holding Dandiya Raas and Garba in several parts of the city, people of different cultures have grabbed the opportunity to swirl to the tunes of Garba as an offering for Maa Ambe.
Though traditional Garba is a rarity now, as the influence of Western and Bollywood music has made it more of a fusion, the dance itself continues to attract the imagination of many. While many participate, others go all the way to distant places in the city just to watch people perform the dances. Apart from Palace Grounds in Bangalore, considered to be the hub of Navaratri celebrations, many organisations are also hosting festivities on a smaller scale.
Year after year one place that people throng to participate in Garba and Dandiya Raas is the Palace Grounds. Besides that, is the Shree Indiranagar Gujarati Association (SIGA) that has been organising ‘Dandiya Nights’ at Gopalan Mall for the past few years. The association representatives even teach those unfamiliar with the dance forms five basic steps. The feeling of togetherness is palpable.
The transition from the more demure Garba to the energetic Dandiya is smooth. Armed with Dandiya sticks, the dancers move effortlessly to music of a higher tempo.
Bhavisha Acharya, a homemaker, says, “We go to Palace Grounds every year; but this year, we decided to come here after we heard that it was a smaller, tightly-knit affair and focussed on the traditional aspect of the festival.” Praful Maun from SIGA says that the celebrations this year will be bigger and better with special features, including disco and laser lights.
He said that the association was expecting around 500 people to attend the festivities.
The two-day Sahakarnagar Habba 2013, organised by the Sahakarnagar Women’s Welfare Association for the first time featured Navaratri and Dandiya nights.
Sushma Rajaram from the association says, “We had over 500 people came in on the second night for the Dandiya Raas and 5,000 people for all cultural events over the two days.”