Indians love to dance! This is not a random musing or topic for discussion but a statement of absolute fact.
India is one of the few countries in the world that embraces music and dancing wholeheartedly.
Dancing as part of celebrations is intrinsically woven into the fabric of Indian society and culture. With the exception of mourning, there is no life event that involves jubilation of any kind that does not include shaking a leg and letting loose. And there is a no bigger cause for celebration for any Indian family than an Indian Wedding.
Considering the sheer expanse of India filled with its numerous cultures, rituals and ceremonies, it is the love for larger than life festivities that have made Indian wedding dances a common feature from North to South and East to West. Every region has its own distinct flavour of music and dancing infused with its own traditions and history. Typically South Indian states have been more subdued and simplistic about their weddings with celebrations getting grander, louder and more opulent moving towards North India. However, with the advent in migration for work to larger cosmopolitan cities, cultural boundaries have become more fluid to allow for incorporating an Indian wedding with fun bits and pieces from other regions.
Wherever they may be geographical, Indian weddings are renowned for large-hearted hospitality, warm hosts, bright colours, loud music and smashing Indian wedding dances. Age is no exception or restriction for wedding guests, family and friends not to partake in the chaos and spectacle of Indian wedding dancing. From grannies to little tots, everyone gets involved in the exuberant joy of the occasion and breaks out dance moves that might shock anyone who has never witnessed it before.
Having two left feet and being of Indian descent is a near statistical impossibility that is met with gasps of horror from other Indians. An Indian who cannot dance is unheard of phenomenon deemed worthy of being studied for medical journals and for entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. You don’t have to be graceful, rhythmic or even synchronised for Indian wedding dances. You just have to be caught up in the moment and have the time of your life.
Indian wedding dances are not relegated to one occasion of complete and utter craziness but are essential to every function. It all starts with the Mehendi that is a predominantly female festivity. However, once the henna is applied, and while all the ladies wait patiently for their henna to dry and stain their hands with its gorgeous orange-brown colour, some dancing is the order of the day. The men join in while a dholi or bass drummer belts out loud beats and songs that invite different sections of the bride and groom’s friends and family to take centre stage and show off their moves.
However, the pinnacle of Indian wedding dancing is specially reserved for the Sangeet ceremony. Characteristically meant for music and dancing, the sangeet ceremony usually features choreographed performances by close friends and family meant to entertain other guests and to set the mood. The participants painstakingly practise for months in advance to deliver a flawless rendition of current Bollywood or Tollywood chart hits that could give the originals some stiff competition.
Indian wedding dances don’t conclude at the end of the sangeet night as the groom’s side of the family is in for another dose during the baraat. The baraat is the wedding procession of friends and family that used to traditionally start at the groom’s residence and move towards the bride’s home accompanied by a massive band of live musicians playing dhols (drums) and shehnais (Indian trumpets). It signifies the joy of the groom’s side in welcoming the bride into their lives and as part of their family. Today the wedding processions may have become shorter but the Indian wedding dancing has by no means become less enthusiastic. The bride’s family welcomes their new in-laws at the entrance of the wedding venue, and both families proceed towards the wedding ceremony filled with boundless happiness and eternal love as they shower the couple with blessings for the magical new phase of their lives.
It is a folk dance practised across north India, especially Punjab and is a very famous dance which is carried out by almost everybody. Everyone does the bhangra on loud Punjabi Dhol and beats, irrespective of their age and health. Everyone can do this dance as this dance does not require any special coaching or training. Even by simply watching the other person dancing, you can learn the steps in minutes. It involves free movement of the body while raising your hands in the air and just moving and stamping your feet on the beats of the background music. In addition to bhangra, giddah is also involved by ladies. It also involves dancing on the special beats and Punjabi songs. Other north Indian states like Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh also have their traditional dances carried out during the weddings.
Garba is a traditional dance of Gujarat and is held a night before the Gujrati wedding. It is also a very famous Indian rhythmic dance and is performed regardless of age. Families and friends get together and perform Garba amidst soft music of garba singers. It holds importance during weddings as it is often referred to as a partner dance.
Nowadays, DJ’s are hired to perform during weddings. Dancing on music by DJ involves a mixture of western and Indian dances. The DJ plays music, and everyone dances to its tunes. The dances involved can vary from bhangra to garba or even western, depending upon the type of music played.
Traditional Folk song and dance
South Indian weddings are marked by special folk songs and folk dances to mark the wedding occasion. These songs and dances are performed to display the love and understanding between bride and the groom and are thus performed with much enthusiasm.
Indian weddings are a symbol of love, happiness and time for everyone to enjoy. The dances performed during the weddings are an indication of the celebrations of welcoming the new couple in the family and wishing the couple a very happy and joyous wedding life.
What is a Sangeet at an Indian wedding?
It is of no secret that Sangeet dance is the soul of any Indian wedding. This ceremony is celebrated with huge joy prior to the wedding where all men and women have got an equal contribution. As the event approaches near, the family members start preparing for the celebrations by practising their solo or couple dance in Sangeet. Usually, some talented dancers from the family come forward to make arrangements for the Sangeet night and prepare their dance songs. However, you may also consider a professional dancing school in Chennai to choreograph the dances in the event to make this ceremony even more charming to the guests. This is where Dance and Dance Academy, Chennai can contribute. With experienced choreographers on our side, we will put a life in your Sangeet night.
Among the many pre-wedding events that occur prior to the Hindu, Punjabi, and Gujurati wedding ceremonies, the Sangeet is where the party begins. The word Sangeet translates to ‘sung together’ from Sanskrit. ‘Gaun’, another word used to describe the event, means ‘songs’ or ‘to sing’ in Hindi. Traditionally celebrated in the Punjab regions of India, this ceremony has been adopted by many other regions as a form of celebration for the wedding to come. The event is formally known to consist of only female attendees from both sides of the family. However, modern times allow for men to join in on the fun too. Unlike religious ceremonies such as the Haldi or portions of the wedding ceremony, the Sangeet is solely conducted to relish in the happiness and joy surrounding the couple.
Significance of the Sangeet
In earlier times the Sangeet would last for ten days, celebrating up until the wedding day – however over time this tradition boiled down to a one day function in order to fit all of the wedding events into one week. The Sangeet ceremony takes place two or three days prior to the wedding, before the Mehndi ceremony. This celebration includes dances performed by relatives and friends of the Bride and Groom, songs by the older female members of the family singing in unison with the bride as the focal point, and an open dance floor to commemorate the festivities for the following days. The event takes place at the bride’s home or a separate banquet hall, where the bride’s family welcomes the groom’s family by singing Suhaag, a traditional folk song, to the tune of the Dhol.
What is raas-garba and do I have to be Indian to come?
Absolutely not! Raas-Garba is a night of energetic and playful dancing that commonly takes place before weddings. Raas and Garba are typical Gujarati folk dances that everyone can participate in. You don’t even know how to dance – we’ll teach you the basics. The steps are easy to learn, and it’s fun to watch even if you’re not the dancing type! Garba is done solo and involves rhythmic steps in a circular form. There are simple versions that involve repeating a short sequence of steps, or more complex versions that require a little coordination. Different groups of people are doing different things simultaneously, so it is easy to jump in wherever you’re comfortable. Each song is quite long (about 30 minutes), but you don’t have to do it continuously – people leave and join all the time. The music starts off slow but speeds up as time goes on, so things get fun and crazy at the end. Raas is done in pairs while holding sticks called dandia. The dance involves hitting your partner’s dandia with your own while following the beat of the music. Again, the most basic version involves repeating five simple steps and is very easy to learn. (If you’re not yet convinced, don’t worry – we’ll have some raas lessons too!) Raas is also easy-come-easy-go with the caveat that you have to leave/join in pairs, so there isn’t an odd man out.
Sangeet Song & Dance
The female members from both sides of the family congregate together to sing traditional songs pertaining to the bride and groom. The elders of the family lead the pack as they dictate which songs to sing for the Sangeet. This singing tradition occurs mostly in Punjabi culture. Songs include ‘jokes’ about in-laws, about the bride leaving her parents’ home, and on how to have a successful marriage. The premise of the Sangeet is not only to rejoice but to join the families so that they familiarise themselves with one another prior to the big wedding day. Relatives and friends of the Bride and Groom choreograph dance numbers to perform for the couple adding to the jubilation of the event. The song and dance portion of the Sangeet is a social bond connecting the two families to each other and to the bride and groom. Check out these Indian Wedding DJs who would be perfect for hosting any Sangeet.
Everyone attempts to rock the event with their dance moves, and professional coaching makes your dreams come true. If you don’t have enough experience or background in choreographing the moves of dance for wedding Sangeet on your own, then leave this area for the reputed dance instructors like us. With the strategically designed Sangeet classes, Chennai will take your experience to the next level. We are particularly engaged in training newbies to a skill level where they can expect to receive appreciation from their near and dear ones for the rock-solid dance performance on the special day. It’s ideal for giving yourself as much time as you can afford prior to the stage performance so that you can be more confident on the day of the event.
More emphasis is needed on choreographing the dance for a groom and bride, which is also a major attraction of the event. But, no worries as you are with the dance professionals. With several years spent on wedding Mehndi Dance practice, we know how to create those special effects which dazzle the audience to the tunes of music.
Dance is the essence of any wedding, and people wait for the moment to the music to start and get into the groove to dance and enjoy. It is done by children, adults as well as old. No Indian wedding is complete without adding dance to it. However, wedding dances in Indian weddings are not the same and vary with region and religion of the members. Let us see various dances done during Indian weddings.