Ghoomar is a Rajasthani folk dance that is both traditional and energetic. Ghoomar, also known as Ghumar, was invented by the Bhil tribe and later adopted by other Rajasthani communities. The Ghoomar dance is a women’s dance that is only performed by women at ladies’ gatherings. Ghoomar dance is performed by groups of women moving in a circle and wearing swirling robes, accompanied by men and women singing in unison.
The name of this spectacular folk dance comes from the word ‘ghoomna.’ When the colours of the flowing ‘ghaghara,’ the long skirt of Rajasthani women, flow during pirouetting, the fascination begins. The skirt flares slowly while the women twirl in circles, their faces are hidden behind the veil.
According to the traditional rituals, the newly married bride is expected to dance ghoomar on being welcomed to her new marital home. Ghoomar is frequently performed on special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and religious occasions, and can last for hours.
Ghoomar also represents the transition of young girls into womanhood in the Bhil community, making the attire even more significant. The outfits’ colors and motifs make the dance extremely appealing to watch. Surprisingly, the zari work and the amount of embroidery on the ensemble also indicate the family’s wealth.
Ghoomar is a traditional Bhil tribe folk dance performed to honour Goddess Sarasvati, which was later adopted by other Rajasthani communities. Bheels were a powerful community at the time, constantly at odds with Rajput kings. After much fighting, they reached an agreement and began interacting with one another. Ghoomar was originally performed by local women in Rajputana; however, Rajput elite women began to participate in the dance later on. Men were not permitted to attend these dance performances. Ghoomar became popular during the reigns of Rajput kings in the Indian state of Rajasthan and is typically performed by women on auspicious occasions. Women perform ghoomar while wearing ghoonghat on their heads, which covers their faces.
With the different regions of Rajasthan, the dance form acquires different styles and slight changes in attire. Ghoomar is performed with faster beats in areas bordering Gujarat, with steps similar to Garba style, and slower beats in Dhaulpur Karauli Braj kshetra, with similar differences in attire and dancing style in Udaipur, Kota, Bundi, and so on.
The popular Ghoomar Dance in Rajasthan, India, is known as the Bhil tribe’s signature dance. The Rajput Kachhwaha Clan, who ruled Jaipur, defeated the Bhils and later agreed to peaceful coexistence. As a result, it is natural for the royalty to adopt some of the Bhil traditions and practices. It has since become associated with the royal ladies of Jaipur, who perform it on auspicious occasions.
It is now performed on special occasions by middle-class families in Udaipur, Jodhpur, and the Kota–Bundi region. It is very musical in Udaipur and resembles the Garva of neighboring Gujarat. The movement of the limbs in Jodhpur is jerky. Kota-Ghoomar Bundi’s is vibrant and impressive. The song that accompanies this dance is melodious and catchy.
Ghoomar, also known as Jhumar, is a joyful swaying dance that can be performed by women of all ages. Its specialty is its unique footwork. This folk dance has no time limit and can last for hours or the entire night.
Ghoomar dancers move in a circular pattern with clockwise and anti-clockwise steps, and in between, they sometimes unite their hands and even clap their hands. Synchronization of steps with song beats is critical, and as the tempo of the dance increases, the dancers swirl quickly.
Women wear ghagra-choli (a team of ankle-length flared skirts, a blouse, and a veil – the chunari or odhni.) These are bordered with gota or lace, embellished with zari (silver-thread embroidery), and enhanced with mirror work. The beautiful and colorful costumes are one feature that may contribute to the enduring popularity of this traditional dance form. Women dress in choli and ghagra a long, flowing skirt embellished with mirrors, crystals, stones, or thread work. While women’s traditional attire is ornate in and of itself, they also wear heavy jewelry and accessories.
The original outfit had a knee-length skirt, but to give it a more universal appeal, the length was increased to the ankle so that it could be worn as a traditional Indian wedding gown. The longer length allows for more elegance, exudes sophistication, and allows for more innovation, such as fish cut at the end, A-style, or side slits for a more modernised look.
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