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Dances of Goa

Goa Tourism Guide > Goa > Dances

 
Ghode Modni
Ghode Modni (‘Ghode’ means ‘horse’ and ‘Modni’ means ‘gyrations and dance-like movements’) is literally a dance involving horse-like movements. It is a spectacular warrior-dance commemorating the victory of the Ranes, the Maratha rulers of the Satari taluka in Goa, over the Portuguese. This dance is popular in Bicholim, Pernem and Satari talukas once ruled by the Marathas. It is performed during the Shigmo festival. The kshatriya dancers wear head gears made of colourful flowers, don in full traditional livery, fix at the waist effigy of a wooden horse beautifully bridled
 
and decorated with spotless white clothes, and carry ghungurs in the anklets. Holding the bridle in one hand and brandishing and waving a naked sword with the other hand, the dancers move forward and backward to the beat of drums – Dhol, Tasha and Cymbals – to recreate the prancing of war horses.
 
Goff Dance
It is a folk dance with cords, manifesting joy and happiness of Goan peasants after the harvest. It is performed during the Shigmo Festival in Phalgun month. Each dancer holds a colourful cord hanging at the centre point of the 'mand' - the place of performance – and starts dancing intricately with the others, forming a beautiful, colourful, intricate braid at the end of the first movement. The music starts again and the dancers reverse the pattern of dancing so skillfully that the braid gets unrevelled and at the end of the second movement, all the cords are loose and single once again. There are 4 different braids of Goff. The songs sung are devoted to Lord Krishna. Ghumat, Samael and Surta Shansi or melodic instruments accompany the dance. Goff has an affinity with tribal dance forms of Gujarat.
 
Kunbi Dance
Kunbis, the earliest settlers of Goa, are a sturdy tribal community mostly settled in Salcete taluka, who though converted to Christianity, still retains the most ancient folk tradition of the land. Their songs and dance belonging to the pre-Portuguese era are uniquely social and not religious. The fast and elegant dance by a group of Kunbi women dancers, wearing traditional yet very simple dresses, lends a colourful touch to this ethnic art form. An example of a Kunbi song:
"The coy bride is filling the pitcher in the ankle-deep water of the rivulet and the fish (called) Thigur is winking at her."
Lamp Dance
This dance derives its name from brass lamps used in the dance during the Shigmo festival. The accompanying instruments include Ghumat, Samael, Cymbal and Harmonium. The performers indulge in a slow dancing movement, balancing brass lamps with burning wicks on the head and the hands. The balancing act controlled by tremendous self-discipline and exquisite footwork matching with the rhythms of the traditional folk songs are eye-catching. This group dance is popular in the southern and central Goa.
 
Mussal Dance
The Kshatriyas, the warrior class of Chandor (earstwhile Chandrapur, the capital of the Kadamba rulers) perform this dance-cum-song to celebrate the victory of Harihar, the Hindu King of Vijaynagar over the Cholas in the early 14th century. They hold and brandish pestles (mussals) – a favourite war instrument with the Yadavas – during the victory parade and dance as the original one held centuries ago. The march comprises 4 couplets while the main dance uses 22 couplets. Originally the Gaonkars did the performance on the full-moon night of the Falguna. The Kshatriyas, though converted to Christianity, still retains the cultural heritage and perform it now on the second day of the carnival.
 
Romat Dance
This thanks-giving ceremonial dance-cum-procession performed during the Shigmo festival is known as Romat in the northern Goa and Mell in the central Goa. It is an extremely crowded, noisy and colourful affair. Teams of dancers drawn from different sections of the village dance and march martially with huge banners, ceremonial umbrellas, festooned sticks and batons towards the temple of the presiding deity or to the house of the landlord. The cacophony emanating from deafening beats of huge Dhols and Tashas and a prolonged, vigourous dancing procession displaying colourful dresses leave the spectators spell-bound.
 
 

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