Mumbai, Oct.10: Navratri festival, which begins this week, is an occasion for people in Maharashtra and Gujarat to participate in Dandiya Raas and Garba, the traditional dance forms.
Ahead of these dance programmes that are organized at various localities, much preparation is done in advance. And these days, many Mumbaikars are busy with just that.
Residents of Mumbai, the Gujaratis families in particular, are honing their dance skills ahead of the Garba and Dandiya-Raas nights to be organized during the nine-day Navratri festival here
Dancing with dandiya
These dance nights during Dussehra Puja are spellbinding and all age groups participate in it. For youngsters, it is also a time when they can meet individuals of similar age group and enjoy traditional dancing steps.
Thousands of people from all walks of life participate in the lively dances to mark the festival organized at different locations.
Singers, musicians and dancers have practiced for many weeks for the festivities scheduled to commence on Friday (Oct.12).
Several local committees have conducted special classes for their residents to be in tune with the popular beats to develop rhythm. Besides, many foreign tourists have also evinced interest in learning these traditional dance forms.
Apart from the open spaces available in every other neighbourhood, many organizers have booked spacious community halls and even ballrooms in hotels to host Garba or Dandiya dances.
"This Navaratri festival is very special for us. We celebrate it with full excitement and enjoyment," said Jigar Soni, a dance organiser.
Final touch is being lent to organization of Garba and Dandiya programmes which will last till the completion of Navaratri festival on October 20.
" We are practicing for the last 20-25 days. We have to learn the traditional form also since the authentic steps and moves have been eclipsed over the past decade-and-a-half," said Dipta Mungekar, a dance practitioner.
Costumes play a major role to bring in the actual feel and spirit during the traditional dances.
"Costumes have their own significance, as one"s appearance tends to increase the dance"s influence. So we start preparing for costumes a month or two before the actual event. Parents bring those costumes from Baroda and many other villages. We design them so that our costumes remain different from others," said Charulata, a dance teacher.
Tourisis visiting Mumbai at this time of the year are also drawn to these dances and many of them enjoy joining the local dancers in festivities.
"I love dancing. It's a passion and I would love to know more about this dance. It's really good," said Chudgie, a foreign tourist.