Pakistani Folk Dances
Pakistani Folk Dances: Dances are traditionally part of the lives of people especially in Pakistan. Dance for Pakistanis is so important that people can communicate with each other and tell a story without uttering a word but rather dancing to send those messages. Folk dances are still popular in Pakistan and vary according to region such as: • Bhangra -Punjab • Luddi – Punjab • Dhammal – Performed at Sufi shrines/ dargahs in Punjab and Sindh • Attan – Folk dance of Pashtuns tribes of Pakistan including the unique styles of Quetta and Waziristan • Khattak Dance – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Jhumar – Siraiki and Balochi folk dance • Ho Jamalo Sindhi dance • Lewa – Baluchi folk dance Bhangra: Bhangra is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region in Southeast Asia. As many Bhangra lyrics reflect the long and often tumultuous history of the Punjab, knowledge of Punjabi history offers important insights into the meaning of the music. While Bhangra began as a part of harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations.
Moreover, during the last thirty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with genres such as hip-hop, house, and reggae. Luddi: Luddi dance’s popularity is much higher in Pakistan, India and even in the entire world due to the Pakistanis and Indians’ residing there in foreign lands. Luddi is not a particular formed dance. It is a sign of celebration. When there is a celebration whether for victory, wrestling triumph or victory or any kind of celebration, Luddi is performed by the people. It is performed by girls in weddings and functions.
Dhammal: Religious dances are often used in religious ritual and this is popular among Sufis. Dance is important during some religious festivals. It is known as Dhammaal. A devotional dance characterized by high stepping and hands raised over the head and with the index finger pointing at the sky. Men and women perform this dance. Attan: Attan (Pashto) is a form of dance that originated in the Pashtun regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Attan began as a folk dance conducted by Afghans in the time of war or during wedding or other celebrations (engagement, New Year and informal gatherings).
Formerly a Pashtun ethnic dance, it is now considered the national dance of Afghanistan. Performed in a large circle to the accompaniment of drums and pipes, the dance begins slowly but grows in momentum for two or three hours without a break except for changes in tempo or changes in song. Its duration differs – anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. Khattak Dance: Khattak Dance is a swift martial sword-dance of the Khattak tribe of Pashtuns in Pakistan. Khattak is danced to fast music featuring the piper clarion and drums beaten with sticks.
Dozens of men dance together wielding swords or handkerchiefs, performing acrobatic feats. Jhummar: This dance has originally come from Sandal bar (now in Pakistan), but is now very much a part of Punjab folk heritage. It is a dance of graceful gait, based on specific Jhumar rhythm. It is a living testimony of the happiness of men. Any time is Jhummar time especially during Melas, weddings and other major functions and celebrations. Performed exclusively by men, it is a common feature to see three generations – father, son and grandson – dancing all together. This is also performed in a circle.
The dancers dance around a single drummer standing in the center. It’s costumes are the same as that of Bhangra. It is danced to the tune of emotional songs. The dance is without acrobatics. The movement of the arms only is considered its main forte. Toes are musically placed in front and backwards and turnings are taken to the right, sometimes the dancers place their one hand below the ribs on the left and gesticulate with the right hand. This dance does not tire out its performers and it is normally danced on moonlit nights in the villages away from the habitation.
It is mostly danced by tribal Sikh professional acrobats and has yet not been owned by all Punjabis. The dancers of this dance let-off a sound, “dee dee” in tune with the beat of the dance which adds to its grace. This dance has also been integrated into Bhangra. Ho Jamalo: Ho Jamalo, it is also called Hey Jamalo. It is much famous dance and is quite popular in the world. Ho Jamalo happens to be a Sindhi dance and interprets the battle and folk legends of the province. On the events like festive seasons and the celebrations, Ho Jamalo is performed.
The song lets us know the saga of the legendary 18th century Sindhi warrior Jamal who had defended his country against the foreign invaders. In Ho Jamalo song, the main vocalist sings the praises/verses of the warrior Jamalo’s bravery. While the dance is performed, the performers shout the word ‘Ho Jamalo’. These dancers go round the main vocalist while they do the simple dance steps. By the time, the song comes to the ends, it gets the momentum. Lewa: Lewa is also a Baluchi dance performed mostly by a group of people in a circle with hand movements. Lewa almost always includes a Surna and Dhol.