By Munish Arya
Friday, October 22, 2021 was Garba Dandiya Night at the 5600 Post Road, Dublin, Ohio. It was a night to be remembered and looked forward to when the next one returns in 2022. Ohio-based and New American magazine entertainment contributor, Munish Arya tells the story of Garba Dandiya:
Garba is a community circle dance from the northwestern Indian state of Gujarat. The word “Garba” refers to the event at which the Garba is performed. Dandiya-Raas is performed with sticks (dandiya) and rotating partners.
Garba is a form of dance and a religious and social event that originates in Gujarat, India.
The two primary forms are Garba (both be taali and tran taali) as well as raas. Garba typically consists of snaps and claps to keep the beat of the dance as well as twirls, all done in a circle and performed in Durga’s honor
Garba-Raas is traditionally a recreational, social dance form that is done in large groups. The competitive form is described as “…competitive sport, rather than an inclusive, ritualistic dance form, the need to “entertain” has become increasingly paramount” by Falcone. To turn this social dance into a competitive activity, many aspects of the dance, such as the formations, the moves, and structures, have changed. The new evolved style is described in further detail below under “The Garba-Raas Competitive Dance Style”
Similarities that remain between the traditional and competitive styles are the clothing, music, and basics move. Dancers prefer to identify the new dance style as a branch of Garba and Dandiya-raas though in reality, Garba-Raas is transforming into its own dance style.
Dandiya – Garba night 2021 event was organized by Sumedha Arya & Rachana Mishra. The event started with Gayatri Mantra’s prayer. The event sequence was followed by thanking all the invited dignitaries, sponsors, and associated organizations (Punjabi Virsa Ohio, American Business Solutions Inc, United Software Group, etc.). It was an open dance floor format where the DJ played 3 hours of nonstop traditional Garba dandiya and Bollywood tunes for the occasion. It was endless fun till the closing, where many audiences were chosen the winners among different categories of best dancers, best dressed, best couple dance, etc.
Garba Dandiya 2021 event was accepted and thoroughly enjoyed by friends and audiences from the USA, UK, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and more
Both men and women should wear colorful costumes while performing Garba and dandiya. Women wear a three-piece dress, the top is ‘Choli’ which is an embroidered and colorful blouse, teamed with bottom called Chanya (also chaniya), Lahenga or Ghagra. There is a subtle difference between all three dresses; in general, they are flared, skirt-like bottoms. The third piece is Dupatta (scarf).
Men wear kafni pyjamas with a Ghagra – a short round kurta – above the knees and pagadi (turban) on the head with bandhini Dupatta, kada (men’s bracelet), and mojiris (traditional shoes).
Navratri, literally meaning “nine nights,” is the Hindu festival dedicated to Durga—the feminine form of divinity and her nine states, from the fierce sword-wielding Kaalratri to the smiling creator of the universe Kushmanda. This festival is observed in many ways, each unique to the region of India. In Gujarat, it is nine nights of dancing as a form of veneration and reverence. Starting in the evening, men and women dance late into the night in honor of Durga. Many people also fast or observe a special diet with restricted foods during these nine days and nights. And while Garba is central to Navratri observances in Gujarat, it is not exclusively performed only during Navratri. Garba also is performed during social events such as weddings and parties.
Garba Dandiya is being celebrated to last many years in central Ohio by various organizations.