Raas or Dandiya Raas is a traditional folk dance of Gujarat & Rajasthan and is associated with scenes of Holi, and lila of Krishna and Radha. Along with Garba, it is the featured dance of Navratri evenings throughout India. The word "Raas" comes from the Sanskrit word "Rasa". Lord Krishna performed Rasa lila" (Lila means Lord Krishna's playful dance)
Dandia is usually performed in a group, by both men and women. The special feature of the dance is the colorful attire worn by the dancers and the colourful , beautifully decorated bamboo sticks carried by them. It is for this reason the dance is also called the 'Stick Dance'. The performers hold sticks in both their hands and strike them together on the beats of the musical instruments. Dandiya Ras involves a huge number of people so per dance setting, two circles are formed by the dancers. One of the circles revolves clockwise, while the other revolves anti clockwise. The dance is a very energetic and fast paced activity, which leaves no scope for lethargy. Its quite an experience to see hundreds of people swaying on the beats of folk music. The celebrations start after the performance of the ritual of ‘aarti’, whereas another dance form Garba is performed prior to it.
Dandiya is a fun way of keeping in shape and banishing stress. It is an excellent form of exercise that is emotionally, mentally and physically satisfying. It burns as many calories as jogging or swimming. Long hours at work, inadequate rest and a high level of stress take a toll on the quality of life. Dandiya Raas lifts one’s spirits and reduces stress. Dancing is a social activity; it gives you an opportunity to make new friends. The performers develop concentration, team spirit and learn to coordinate their movements.
We love the festive spirit that is beginning to make way through the city! This September end as Navratri approaches, the city shines with happiness, holidays, mouth watering food, sweets, music and dance. It is time to garb yourself in traditional attire – be it a ghagra-choli, churidar kurta and bandhani dupatta, kurta pyjama or dhoti and ethnic jewellery. All this makes us want to put on our dancing shoes and pick up the dandiya sticks! Don’t you want to do that? Durga Puja is just that season to party, celebrate and ride that high of happiness that comes from dance.
Pick up those Dandiya sticks, don that glittery kurta / ghagra and get on the dance floor to swirl, twirl and shimmer in the festive bliss!