Dance and music constitute an integral part of Maharashtrian culture. Various folk and regional dances are performed during festivals and on special occasions. Pune is best known for Shaniwarwada Dance Festival, which is organized every year and a huge hit among Punekars. Eminent personalities from the field of dance, music and drama grace this occasion with their breathtaking performances against the backdrop of grandiose sets. It is also a noted platform for the budding talents from India and other countries. The entire ambiance takes you to a magical journey into the world of dance and music.
Navratri, a nine day Gujarati dance festival to worship Goddess Durga and her nine forms, is also celebrated with full enthusiasm in Pune. Sawai Gandharva Music Festival is another famous event held in Pune annually for classical music enthusiasts. Initiated by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi in 1953, this event has attracted both the young talents as well as prominent celebrities from the music world. Additionally, Pune also witnesses jazzy rock concerts, Bollywood shows and other international dance performances like Salsa, Hip Hop, Latin Ballroom etc frequently throughout the year. There are many other important dance styles which have put Pune on the international cultural map due to their uniqueness. Here are few of them:
The name of the dance is derived from the word “Lavanya” which means beauty. It is a traditional dance which is performed to the enchanting beats of Dholak - a drum like musical instrument. Women dressed in attractive nine-yard saris and ornaments perform the dance on the vivacious beats of the traditional music. During the Maratha Period, this dance was used to entertain the fatigued soldiers. The dance has been popularized by poets like Honaji Bala, Ramjoshi and Prabhakar.
The word has been derived from the Persian word Tamasha which means entertainment. It is one of the most important folk dances of Maharashtra. The dance is believed to have originated in the 16th century. Communities like Kolhati and Mahar are well associated with this dance. Instruments like Dholki (drum), Tuntuni (a single string instrument), Manjeera cymbals, Daf (a tambourine-like instrument with a single leather surface), Halgi (smaller Daf), Harmonium and Ghunghroos (ankle bells) are used to make the atmosphere more vibrant.
Koli is a popular dance that derives its name from the fishermen community - Kolis. The dance is performed by both men and women of the community. On special occasions people gather at a common-place and portray the movement of the rowing of a boat and also casting of nets to catch the fish. The dance is based on their occupation and it provides pleasure and entertainment to them.
Other popular dances of the state include Dhangari Gaja, Povadas, Dindi and Kala. These dances portray their rich culture.