Folk dances are a part and parcel of Maharashtra Culture. These are the true reflections of the culturally diverse society that has been dwelling on these art forms from thousand of years. They are the occasions of celebration and festivities that showcase various moods and expressions.
There are several religious folk dances in Maharashtra that are popular among masses. They represent the religious fervor and zest of the common people. These folk dances are commonly known by the name phugadis and are symbols of merriment.
Bharadi festival is an artistic folk dance which is performed by farmers. The dancers are the devotees of the deity Bhairoba or Bhairavnath. The children from Bharadi caste are trained in this dance form since childhood. Marked with dancing and singing, this Festival is a joyous ecstasy that is played in the form of a song-story. The tale revolves around a farmer who does not recognize Lord Shiva who comes to his house in form of a beggar; in fact, the farmer insults him and gets the wrath of goddess Parvati.
Hadga, which is also known as Bhondla is a folk dance that is played while the sun rests in "hasta" zodiac. It is performed by young girls. Ghagar Phunkane is another folk dance of Maharashtra that is performed by women of a special clan in the month of Ashwin.
Dindi that is played in Kartik month of Hindu calendar, is a devotional dance dedicated to Lord Krishna. Dindi is a drum that is played during the performances by the artists. This dance form comprises of rhythmic movements by the performers who dance in rows. The artists lift their left and right feet while making beautiful patterns. The beat to which they dance comes from mridangam that is played by a background artist. He, along with a vocalist stands amidst the dancers and provide the necessary music. This folk dance celebrates the playful nature of Lord Krishna. This dance is particularly popular in Varkari people.
Kala dance is also played at the beats of music that is played using a pot. The pot is full of curd. A circular group of dancers carry other dancers on their back who, in turn break this pot while the curd splashes all over their bodies. This tradition reflects the childhood of mischievous Lord Krishna who was famous for curd-stealing and other notorious tasks during his childhood. After the pot-breaking is over, the dancers perform a breathtaking dance with swords and sticks.
Lezim is played using small instruments that carry the same name as this dance. The jingling sound that is produced by the metallic discs attached to an idiophone is captivating. The callisthenic moves that are involved in this dance have made it popular in school drilling exercises. Men and women are dressed in colorful attires and perform difficult dance movements. The rhythmic arm and leg movements are charming to watch. The Sigma festival marks the advent of the spring season.