Recently, a leader of Maharashtra has directed members of his party to not organise raunchy public shows in the name of Lavani, a folk song-and-dance performance that is popular in Maharashtra.
What is the Lavani folk art form?
- The word Lavani comes from ‘lavanya’ or beauty.
- It is a traditional folk art form in which women dancers wearing nine-yard-long sarees in bright colours, make-up, and ghunghroos perform on dholak beats on a stage before a live audience.
- As an indigenous art form, Lavani has a history going back several centuries, and it attained particular popularity in the Peshwa era in the 18th century.
- Traditionally, performances were held in front of kings or lords, and for the entertainment of tired soldiers resting during breaks in fighting.
- There are several sub-genres of this dancei, of which the most popular is the Shringarik (erotic) kind, in which the lyrics are often teasing, with sensuous dance steps and delicate gestures employed to convey erotic meaning.
- Over the years, Lavani has gained more acceptability among the people, even though certain taboos around it continue.
- The audience has historically been all-male, but in recent years, some women too have begun to attend performances.
- Lavani became well known outside Maharashtra — throughout India and even outside the country — following its use in popular media such as cinema. Over the past few years, with the explosion in the use of social media, short clips of dances have become very popular.
- A combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument. Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm.
- Lavani has contributed substantially to the development of Marathi folk theatre.
- In Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh it is performed by the female performers wearing nine-yard long sarees.
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