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ISU Indian Student Association dance demonstration set Oct. 21 in PSUB

Posted October 19, 2007

The Idaho State University India Student Association will hold “Dandiya Raas” and “Garba” dance demonstrations from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, in the ISU Pond Student Union Building Ballroom.

Members of the ISU and Pocatello community are invited to participate, noted ISA president Hemant Vishwasrao.

“Dandiya Raas” and “Garba” are the featured dances of the India Navratri Festival, which means “nine nights.” The festival originated in Western India in the State of Gujrat. Navratri is the second longest Hindu festival. It is celebrated throughout India for nine consecutive nights at the end of September and early October in praise of Lord Rama, hero of the epic Ramayana, and goddess Durga. It originated as devotional Garba dances, which were performed in Durga's honor. This dance form is actually the staging of a nine-day mock fight between the Goddess and Mahishasura, the mighty demon-king.

This dance form also is nicknamed “The Sword Dance.” The sticks of the dance represent the sword of Durga. The women wear traditional dresses such as colorful embroidered choli, ghagra, and bandhani dupattas, all traditional attire. The women’s costumes include mirror work and heavy jewelry. The men wear special turbans and kedias.

The dancers whirl and move their feet and arms in a choreographed manner to the tune of the music with lots of drum beats. The musical instrument dhol is used as well as complementary percussion instruments such as the dholak, tabla and others. The true dance gets extremely complicated and energetic.

The origin of these dance performances or Raas can be traced back to the life of Lord Krishna. In the modern Indian society, this dance form has risen above the limits of religion and region and is performed by any and every Indian irrespective of his/her religious background, according to Vishwasrao.

Vishwasrao emphasized this dance performance is separate from the ISU India Night, which is scheduled Nov. 10.