Traditionally, the form of Indian dance known as Garba came from the state of Gujarat in India. It was most often performed to celebrate the fertility of a woman as well as show respect to the many mother goddesses. Often, this dance would be performed to signify the first menstrual cycle, and again for her marriage, however Garba has gone more mainstream and this spiritual dance is now performed during the Navratri Festival as well as during other special occasions.
The dance involves circular and spiral movements while wearing beautiful traditional clothing. Modern Garba is blended with Dandiya Raas, which was once a dance that only men performed. This merger has resulted in the stunning creation of a unique and vibrant dance that is impossible not to watch in awe.
When you watch Garba in performance, it’s easy to see that this complex and riveting dance is one of celebration and embracing life. The festive and colorful costumes set the tone for the movements performed. Intricate in design, women wear Chaniya Choli which is a type of three-piece dress that featured a colorful, embroidered blouse and a gorgeous flared skirt. These are further enhanced with shells, beads, stars, mirrors, and breathtaking embroideries. They also heavily accessorize with sparkling jewelry including necklaces, armfuls of bangles, belts, and long, dangling earrings that shimmer under the lights. All this makes for a dazzling spectacle when the Garba is performed.
Garba has had a profound effect on the younger generation with more and more Indians embracing this ritualistic dance, particularly the Gujarati Diaspora. But it’s not just popular in the homeland. Both Garba and Dandiya Raas have become intensely popular in America and Canada as well as in the UK. You’ll find plenty of Garba nights around the big cities here.
Garba songs often involve Lord Krishna or one (or all) of the nine goddesses. However, you don’t need to be Indian to enjoy this special dance or the music that goes along with it. This mix is ideal for performing the Garba in modern form, but even if you don’t know how to dance in the traditional manner, moving your body to the music and letting it fill your soul is the perfect place to start.