Dandiya Raas

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Description:
Raas or Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk dance form of Vrindavan, India, where it is performed depicting scenes of Holi, and lila of Krishna and Radha. Along with Garba, it is the featured dance of Navratri evenings in Western India.

Etymology

The word "Raas" comes from Sanskrit word "Ras". The origins of Raas can be traced to ancient times. Lord Krishna performed Rasa lila" (Lila means Lord Krishna's playful dance. The word "Lila" also refers to things that God does that we do not fully understand).

Forms of Raas

There are several forms of Raas, but "Dandiya Raas", performed during Navaratri in Gujarat is the most popular form. Other forms of Raas include Dang Lila from Rajasthan where only one large stick is used, and "Rasa lila" from North India. Raas Lila and Dandiya Raas are similar. Some even consider "Garba" as a form of Raas, namely "Raas Garba".

In Dandiya Raas men and women dance in two circles, with sticks in their hands. In the old times Raas did not involve much singing, just the beat of Dhol was enough. "Dandiya" or sticks, are about 18" long. Each dancer holds two, although some times when they are short on Dandiya they will use just one in right hand. Generally, in a four beat rhythm, opposite sides hit the sticks at the same time, creating a nice sound. One circle goes clockwise and another counter clockwise. In the west, people don't form full circles, but...
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