India | Goa

Dhalo Dance

Dhalo is a popular folk dance that forms an inseparable part of the Goan culture. Performed exclusively by women, it is a song-cum-dance, like 'foogddi', sung in slow rhythm. The dance is played out on the moonlit night of the Paush month (January). It is usually performed on a paved place, known as Mandd, in the courtyard of the house.

Generally the dance is played by 24 women. At the start, the performers split up into two parallel rows (12 each) facing each other. Then they form a close-knit unit by linking themselves with arm-around the back arrangement, singing in unison. The womenfolk dance by swaying their bodies in a rhythmic manner and sing songs that cover religious and social themes. Virtually songs are written in Konkani with a slight admixture of Marathi.

The dance continues for a week and the most vigorous fun of Dhalo happens on the concluding day. The entire week is considered as the women's lib week, which gives them the sense of freedom. On the concluding day, women are bedecked in variety of colorful dresses including those of various male roles, and those of animals and birds. And subsequently they act out their respective parts and fantasies meticulously and with great dramatic gusto.

Updated on 4th September, 2014


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