With the Navratri festival set to commence on October 5, it’s time to take out those ornate Dandiya sticks and put on those dancing shoes. For those who wish to brush-up their skills or learn new steps, there are a host of Garba and Dandiya classes around the corner.
Vihav Singh, who has been conducting classes in the city for over 20 years, said that boys and girls come in equal numbers to learn Dandiya and of late, the number of boys who attend has increased as compared to a few years back. “Though classes go on all around the year, more students come in during the season when Navaratri is starting,” says Singh.
Prajakta Shah, a dance instructor, conducts a nine-day workshop on the basics of Dandiya: “Students are able to learn the dance form over nine days itself. But practice is very important to perform.” Instructor Anu Pendsay says that the love for Dandiya extends across age groups. “Though there is a greater number of youngsters who queue-up to learn dance, I also have students in their 50s who are keen to learn it,” she says.
Do’s and don’ts of Dandiya dancing (Courtesy Vibhav Singh)
> Never feel shy before going to the ground. Remember every person can dance.
> Warm ups are important before going for dancing. Start off slow and then go faster towards the end or you will end up feeling tired.
> After a Dandiya session, loosen up your body and relax for some time. But practise again in the morning before going for dance, even if your leg is paining.
> Wear comfortable clothes.
> Don’t drink too much water before going for dance.
> Do not overeat.
When we spotted Anu Pendsay showing the Dandiya steps and the students performing them, it seemed relatively easy to follow. But when we tried it out, it wasn’t easy. The Garba moves were difficult and the Dandiya steps required a lot of synchronisation with your partner, which is very difficult. Initially, we hit our own hand trying to replicate the steps, but by the end of the session, we were quite comfortable with the Dandiya sticks. However, Garba proved to be more difficult as the moves are traditional and tough to grasp. One’s body has to be very flexible while doing it or else the moves may not look graceful.
Look like a million bucks this season
> You don’t need to opt for an expensive outfit every night to look beautiful. A little smartness in your wardrobe can give you an eye-catching look; that too at a cheaper cost.
> Rent out the costumes instead of buying them. There are many shops which offer Navratri/Dandiya-themed dresses. They even charge on the basis of per day or per hour.
> Incorporate some of your old outfits. You can borrow a Bandhej (bandhani) saree from your mom’s wardrobe to use them on alternate days. Wear a Gujarati style saree with a glittering traditional choli. You can add a Kamar-bandh to complete the look.
> If you are not comfortable in a lehenga or saree, there in no reason to worry. There are a variety of colourful and chic Bandhej suits with mirror work and dual colours that you can match-up with potlis (small bags) and mojris.
> Daringly flaunt that red, blue and green mascara with elan.
> Do not shy away from accessorising but make sure that your accessories go with the attire. Opt for traditional long neckpieces and earrings, such as silver jewellery, including a neck piece, bangles and anklets.
> Do not opt for high heels if you are planning to dance the whole night.