UP Folk Dance

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Folk dances of Uttar Pradesh show the rich cultural heritage of the state. The dance dramas based on the mythological stories of divine characters like Lord Rama & Lord Krishna reflects the traditional essence. The folk dances of Uttar Pradesh include Raslila dance Act, Ramlila Show, Khayal, Nautanki, Naqaal, Swang, Dadra, Mayur Dance, Chakra Dance, Phoolon Ki Holi Dance Act and the Charkula Dance.

Charkula Nritya

Charkula is a dance performed in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. In this dance, veiled women balancing large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramids on their heads dance to songs about Lord Krishna. Each pyramid has 108 lighted oil lamps arranged in a spiral. It is specially performed on the third day after Holi. It is believed that on that day Radha was born.

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Charkula is a dance form that owes its birth to Krishna era. It is therefore not surprising that it is so popular in Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. The dance has many legends attached to it. One legend goes by that the mother of Radha, consort of Krishna, ran outside to deliver the news of her birth carrying Charkula or oil-lamps on her head. Since then this became a tradition to perform this dance on auspicious occasion but primarily on the third day after Holi, the day Radha was born. The other legend says that milkmaids of Mathura re-enacted the seen where Krishna held Govardhan hillock on his finger to save people from the rain. In the process of acting, girls started raising Charkula over their head in order to symbolize the hill.

Women are dressed in long skirts that reach up to the toes. There is a colorful blouse and the dancer covers her body and face with the veil. These women carry a large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramid having 108 oil lamps on their heads while dancing. They perform their dances to the tunes of Rasia that is the song of Lord Krishna. The dance has synchronized steps to the beats of the drum. The movements of the dancers are limited due to the heavy load of stuff on their head. They cannot bend their body nor can they move their back. In spite of these limitations the dancers dance gliding, bending, and pirouetting to the tune of the song.

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Chakra Nritya

Chakra Nritya is a representation of Lord Vishnu’s Chakra (Sudarshana Chakra) where a heavy Brass Plate is revolved only on Index finger and thrown 15-20 feet above in the air and rebalanced similar to its previous state and same action is repeated many a times.

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Phoolon Ki Holi

rishna and Radha play holi with flower petals. Several qunitals of flower petals are used in this Leela

Rasleela & Rasiya

Raslila is a famous art form originating in Braj in Uttar Pradesh in north India. This folk art has elements of classical music, dance and drama. Raslila is associated with Radha and Krishna and their divine love. It is a joyous circular dance of Shree Krishna and his playmates. Today we have villagers in India taking part in Raslila and depicting various stories of Radha and Krishna through dance, music and drama. It also portrays Krishna’s association with the milkmaids or gopis of the village. It shows how Krishna casts a spell on the gopis who wanted him to be their dance partner. Raslila has a basic script which has to be followed, but it has enough scope for improvisation as well. Though the emphasis of Raslila is on ‘darshan’ or the visual appeal, it is important to capture the ‘bhava’ or the sentiment. This is done through music, dance and drama enacted by the actors. The various ‘raasas’ or dramatic flavors like friendship, conjugal love, parental love, amazement, compassion, humour, chivalry, fury, fear and dread are expressed through this traditional folk form.

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Mayur Nritya

Mayur dance (Nritya) is comes from an era of love between Krishna & Radha. This dance belongs to the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. In that Radha , pinning for Krishna after a brief separation, decides to console herself by the sight of peacocks, whose feathers, Krishna wears on his crown, at the Mor Kuti pavillion. Krishna Knowing her mind from afar, playfully causes the peacocks to disappear, leaving Radha distraught. He eventually yields to Radha’s entreaties and himself appears in the guise of a peacock to dance with his beloved.

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