Koli dance derives its name from the popular fishermen who are called Kolis. This dance form has incorporated all the elements that are present in the lifestyle of these fisher folks. Performed by both men and women together, this dance is the reflection of their otherwise hard and strenuous lives.
The dance is done using a fishing oar which is an important fishing equipment. The oars are swayed to the rhythms of the beats and bring out the liveliness. As these oars are swayed in backward and forward directions in a rhythmic pattern, the scene of actual rowing of boats by fishermen comes to live. It appears as if the boats are dancing to the waves of the ocean. There are several variants of Koli dance that vary depending upon the region in which they are played.
The Costumes wore by men and women are ethnic and traditional. The saris that are knee length and triangular shaped lungis are the main costumes. This group dance is performed by standing in rows or pairs. Men and women stand in opposite directions and women are seen advancing towards men. This is then followed by dancing performances showing rowing and fishing movements.
There are many koli songs that are associated with this form. Me Dolker, Dol Doltai, Aga Pori Sambhaal, Paru go Paru, and Valav re Nakva are the famous ones. In Koli dance, women usually jump in between the sticks that are held by men from opposite directions.