La­vani Dance

A TO Z INDIA - - Traditional Dance - - Shivsankar

Ma­ha­rash­tra’s, south of Mad­hya Pradesh’s, Kar­nataka’s and also Tamil Nadu’s type of com­po­si­tion is ‘La­vani’. La­vani com­bines con­ven­tional dance and song, in which peo­ple dance to Dholki’s (type of drum) beat. In La­vani, rhythm is pow­er­ful and erotic. Marathi the­atre has de­vel­oped con­sid­er­ably be­cause of La­vani. Fe­males of Ma­ha­rash­tra and south of Mad­hya Pradesh per­form to this dance by drap­ing saris of nine yards in length.

La­vanya is de­riv­a­tive of La­vani, which means beauty. This dance com­bines song and dance, in which dif­fer­ent is­sues are taken into con­sid­er­a­tion like re­li­gious, po­lit­i­cal, ro­man­tic, etc. The lyrics are teas­ing, tune is caching, to which women har­mo­nize sen­su­ally.

There was time when in Ma­ha­rash­tra a lot of bat­tles were fought and dur­ing which La­vani was an en­ter­tain­ment source and boosted the morale of sol­diers who got tired in 18th to 19th cen­turies. This dance be­came very pop­u­lar in the rule of Pesh­wai, which was a Pune dy­nasty, as it got sup­port from the roy­als, that is, the lead­ers. La­vani reached great heights with the help of poets of Ma­ha­rash­tra, such as Hon­aji Bala, Prab­hakar and Ramjoshi among oth­ers. Dur­ing the past few years, the La­vani dance has lost is charm and is out­moded now, which is re­stricted to films of Ma­ha­rash­tra and that too stereo­typed. His­tory of La­vani Dance Con­ven­tion­ally, this type of dance takes into con­sid­er­a­tion is­sues like re­li­gious, po­lit­i­cal, ro­man­tic, etc. The sen­ti­ments in this type of dance are erotic whereas the speech is pun­gent. When it orig­i­nated, it en­ter­tained and boosted morale of sol­diers who got tired dur­ing bat­tles there. The songs of La­vani are typ­i­cally naughty as well as erotic. The ori­gin of this dance is con­sid­ered to be in Hala’s Prakrit Gathas. There are two gen­res of it, they are: The Nir­guni La­vani, which is philo­soph­i­cal and the other, the Shringari La­vani, which is sen­sual. The Nir­guni’s mu­sic is de­vo­tional, which is fa­mous through­out Malwa.

La­vani be­came prom­i­nent dur­ing late rule of Pesh­was, though it started in around 1560s. Quite a few poets cum singers of Marathi ori­gin con­trib­uted

con­sid­er­ably to this mu­sic’s de­vel­op­ment, some of them are: Ram Joshi (who lived from 1762 to 1812), Hon­aji Bala (from 1754 to 1844), Shahir Annab­hau Sathe (from 1st Au­gust 1920 to 18th July 1969), Anant Fandi (from 1744 to 1819), and Prab­hakar (from 1769 to 1843). The con­ven­tional Dholki used in this dance was re­placed by ta­ble by Hon­aji Bala. A sub-type was also in­tro­duced by Hon­aji Bala, in which the singer is sup­posed to per­form while seated and it is known as baitha­kichi La­vani.

The fe­males per­form­ing La­vani dance, drape a sari which is ap­prox­i­mately 9 me­ters in length. These ladies style the hairs of them­selves into a bun, which is in Hindi, a juda or in Marathi lan­guage, am­bada. They also wear var­i­ous jew­elry in­clud­ing ear­rings, ka­marpatta, neck­lace, payal, etc. They typ­i­cally put a bindi, which is quite large and red in color. Nav­vari is the name of the sari which they drape. This sari is draped so beau­ti­fully that it is in fact eas­ier to carry in com­par­i­son to other types of saris.

In this dance, males also par­tic­i­pate with the fe­males. These men dancers are known as nats or kin­nars. The dancer in the lead is sup­ported by these males. To­day the fa­mous ex­am­ples of this dance are Ya­munabai Waikar and Satyab­ham­abai Pand­harpurkar. A man writes the song and a lady usu­ally sings and dances to it in Shringar La­vani. A fe­male sing this La­vani song, which is ro­man­tic in na­ture and who waits for her lover’s ac­cep­tance. A lot of dancers of La­vani are some Marathis, from the castes such as Kumb­har and Ma­har Kol­hati.

Much credit goes to the films of Marathi ori­gin, which made La­vani reach­able to lot of peo­ple. Many movies like Natarang and the one Pin­jara, blended con­ven­tional mu­sic along with the mes­sages of so­ci­ety and also pos­i­tively por­trayed the La­vani.

When the La­vani dance ends in the state of Tamil Nadu, a du­pli­cate mount of Man­matha is made to burn.

La­vani dance is ba­si­cally a dis­cus­sion of mu­sic and thus a mu­si­cal com­bi­na­tion of tim­ber, song, tune, dance and tra­di­tion. The dho­lak beats’ are de­light­ful and com­bine the dance en­ergy with jazz. The La­vani’s tempo is fast and united with dancers’ feet danc­ing to the rhythm.

The fa­mous dancers of La­vani are the le­gendary Raja Bhoj and Kan­jar gorl. The songs of love are sung for Ranubai and Naik Ban­jara, hav­ing tones that are softer than other La­vani mu­sic. Con­ven­tion­ally the fe­males sing these songs. Males sing oc­ca­sion­ally. Ta­masha is the type of dance in La­vani. Peo­ple pick any hot or erotic song in La­vani to be per­formed by the dancers, which are sug­ges­tive also.

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