Himachal’s mesmerising Nati dance


imageNati is to Himachalis what bhangra is to Punjabis.But the pace of a Nati dance can be slow as a snail and as fast as a hare.

The most common is dhilli nati as dancers form a ring and hold each other by the waist and move on slowly in a circle.

In phukki nati a ring is formed but the dancers don’t hold each other.Instead each dancers hold hands high.

Then there is the mala nati. As the steps move forward and backward the torso too is moved in the same direction.The hands are placed on each other’s waists.

The rhythm of the dance changes with each song.The khanjri is played in this dance among other instruments.

In the popular bird dance called ghugti nati named after the local pahari bird, the pace can be slow and even fast.Many find it a difficult nati.

But the most difficult is the chutti nati.Here the dancers don’t touch each other.Instead they hold their hands high, holding aloft a sword and also a colourful ‘rumal’.It is a very slow dance with complex step work.

The village devta is welcomed by the warrior nati in spring fairs and is performed along with the dhol,narsingh,nagara,karnal and shehnai.

The first two dancers sing and the rest repeat.And all the while the palanquin of the deity(devta) looks over the dancers.