For the present generation of Gujaratis in Kozhikode, Garba was just another form of dance that they performed during Navaratri. Little did they know that it had a scheme and a scientific way of dancing. They signed up for the Garba workshop organised by Sri Calicut Gujarati Samaj out of curiosity, only to know that what they thought was Garba lacked technique.
‘Garba’ means a pot with holes in which a light is put up. The light seeps through the holes creating beautiful designs at night. The Garba dancers hold this pot in their hand while dancing to please the goddess during Navaratri. The night begins with Garba that is played in a line and ends with Dandiya, a dance played in circles.
Chethan Jethava, a dance guru from Gondal village in Rajkot district of Gujarat, has been teaching the Gujarati community the basic moves of Garba and Raas along with Dandiya, the renowned stick-dance of Gujarat.
He had come to Kozhikode for a month-long course in Kalaripayattu at the CVN Kalari.
The Gujarati community seized the opportunity and roped him in for the one-month workshop as well. The classes are held in two batches from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
So far 90 students, 15 of them non-Gujaratis, have signed up for the workshop and the number is rising by the day.
At the end of the workshop, on May 19, the students will make a performance for the public. What more? Mr. Jethava guarantees a weight loss of up to 3 kg at the end of the course.
The Gujarati community in Kozhikode has a history of over 400 years. Their Navaratri celebration is one of the highlights of the season in Kozhikode for the past many years.