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Lambadi Dance is the special kind of folk dance of Andhra Pradesh. Lambadi dance originated at Anupu Village near Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh. Lambadi is a dance form in which the tribal females dance in harmony to the tunes of the drums played by tribal males. Lambadi Dance is done to offer homage and respect to their God and worship for an excellent yield. Lambadis are basically semi-nomadic tribes and they are now slowly but surely heading towards civilization. They are also known as Banjaras or Sengalis.

This dance is mainly restricted among the tribal females and the participation of males is only on the odd occasion. Lambadi is a special kind of Folk Dance which involves participation by tribal women who bedeck themselves in colorful costumes and jewelry. The dance is motivated by the actions connected with everyday tasks like harvesting, planting and sowing. This dramatic traditional tribal dance is centuries old and has become more dramatic and colourful.

History

The state of Andhra Pradesh has always been a special place when it comes to promoting classical as well as tribal dance forms of India. The Lambadi Dance is one such popular tribal folk dance of the state. Associated with Lambadi tribe, the dance is performed to rejoice a successful sowing season.

Lambadi Dance originated from Rajasthan some hundreds of years ago and settled in Andhra Pradesh during the period of King Rana Prathap. The precise and exact history of Lambadis is not identified, but the common belief is that they fought against Muhammad of Ghor in favour of Prithvi Raj Chauhan. The path of the Lambadis can be confirmed from the language they speak. They make use of the words from Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi languages, and also from the local language of the area they belong to.

Formerly, the Banjaras had presence in Rajasthan. However, later on, they migrated to southern India. They established themselves in the southern or central parts of the country for trade and agricultural purposes. As such, their connections with their original community and Rajasthan gradually loosened in order to adapt to the local culture. The spoken language of Lambadis is a mix of Hindi, Rajasthani and Marathi.

In Lambadi dance music is very attractive and costumes are very colourful and dressy. The strikingly beautiful and bright costumes of the dancers embroidered with glass beads and mirrors and ornate jewellery creatively depicts the rich blend of the two diverse cultures. This dance is performed to celebrate festivals like Holi, Dussehra, Deepawali and other happy occasions.

Style of Lambadi Dance

Lambadi dance is encouraged by the activities and actions dealing with the daily chores like planting, harvesting and sowing. On the festive occasions of Dussehra, Deepawali and Holi, the city Banjaras move from one house to another enjoying their dance and accepting alms. Banjara women, in the numbers of around 20-30 dress themselves in vibrant and colourful costumes. They have nice shining vessels of brass containing water and they carry them on either waists or heads to perform a nice group dance. Their beautiful and elegant actions with waists and hands are surely an attraction to all the onlookers.

These Lambadi Gypsy women from Andhra Pradesh have their own one of its kind dance form presented by wearing gaudy dresses and slow movements of hands. Their swaying hand movements are complimented by men acting as singers and drummers. The fine womanly actions of the Dancers are pleasant and rhythmic.

Lambadi Dance is a social dance by females and is inspired with fervent grace and lyricism, making it less wild than other dance forms of Gypsies all over the world. The arresting magnificence of the dancers lies in the delicate sensuality of the entertainer. On playing the drums, Lambadi dance boosts impetus and steaminess. To prop up the females, the males habitually start dancing with their partners. This is a fascinating element of Lambadi dance.

Lambadi dance form gives significance to expressions too. Since it is a dance of the females, it is neither vigorous nor erotic. 

Music in Lambadi Dance

Lambadi dance performed by female dancers is more a rhythm based dance. But when performed to the beat of the Drums, it gains momentum. In Lambadi, the tribal women dance to the tune of the musical instruments played by tribal males. It is spread throughout with fanatical grace and lyricism.

The lyrics of the songs have been taken from the Lambadi dialect. The Folk songs are mesmerizingly rhythmic and meaningful, set to sumptuous times. Normally, the tribal male performers prop up orchestra with Dappu, which provides rhythmic music for dancing. Some of the words used in the Lambadi dance are Banjaroo, banjaraa, banjarodaa, banjara, which are stressed by the performers by swinging round. This is to indicate the Rajasthani origin of their Tribe.The rhythm and the coordination among the dancers are worth mentioning. One can see the effects of Carnatic music on the folk music of Andhra Pradesh.

Costumes and Jewellery

This special folk dance involves contribution by tribal women who bejewel themselves in colourful Rajasthani style costumes and with lots of jewellery. The costumes which tribal women wear are colourful and beautiful, and include phetiya (ghagra) and kanchalli (top). Their hands have been tattooed with mehendi. These costumes are embroidered with glass-beads and shining discs, matched by the abundance of ornate jewellery worn by them. Women wear thick ivory bangles on their arms (patli). Their innumerable ornaments are made up of silver rings, coins, chain and hair pleats are tied together at the end by chotla. The jingling brass anklets, the hanging cowry bunches and the ivory bangles from wrists to elbows provide a natural rhythm to their dances.

Men wear dhoti and short kurta. The clothes Lambadis wear distinguish them from others.

The subtle feminine movements of the Lambadi Dancers are delightful and rhythmic. When the drum is being played the dance gains a momentum and sensuousness. In order to support the female dancers and to compliment them with rhythmic touches, the male drummers often start dancing with their female counterparts. This is an interesting part of the Lambadi Dance. The Lambadi Dance is inspired from the daily chores of the farmer and it mainly involves on issues such as harvesting, sowing and planting.

The Folk dances of India contributes to a great extent to the cultural, artistic heritage of India. Lambadi style of dancing is recognized in India as a unique folk dance form and is listed as such.

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