north india

goti puas GOTI PUA (ORISSA)

The goti puas are boy dancers who dress up as girls. They are the students of the akhadas, or gymnasia, established by Ramachandradeva in Puri, in the periphery of the temple.
As they were offshoots of the akhada system, goti puas also came to be known as akhada pilas - boys attached to akhadas.
Another reason often given to justify the emergence of the goti pua system is that as a section of followers of the Vaishnava religion disapproved of dancing by women as a pretext for worship - they introduced the practice of dancing by boys dressed as girls.

The word goti means 'one', 'single' and pua, 'boy', but the goti puas always dance in pairs. Boys are recruited about the age of six and continue to perform till they are 14, then become teachers of the dance or join drama parties. Goti puas are now part of professional teams, known as dals, each headed by a guru.

The boys are trained for about two years, during which, after having imbibed the basic technique, they learn items of dance, ornamental and expressional. The goti puas, being youngsters in their formative years, can adapt their bodies to the dance in a far more flexible manner as opposed to the maharis.

A goti pua presentation is ably supported by a set of three musicians, who play the pakhawaj, the gini or cymbals and the harmonium. The boys do the singing themselves, though at times the group has an additional singer.


Hojagiri is a reflection of the age-old culture and the unique style of dance of the Reang community of Tripura. Only lower half of the body is moved to create rhythmic movements. Dancers performing unusually amazing acrobatic feats is the main highlight of the dance. Reang girls twist and turn and dance in time to the compelling rhythm, sometimes dancing on an earthen pitcher or balancing a bottle on the head with a lighted lamp on top of it.


The Jawara is performed in the Bundelkhand area of Madhya Pradesh. It is essentially a harvest dance-reflecting the gaiety and pleasure of the peasants who have reaped a good harvest. The dance is performed by men and women together. The costumes and jewelry worn by the women are colorful. The women carry baskets full of jawara on their heads and although the dance is very vigorous they are able to balance these baskets very skillfully on their heads. The accompaniment includes a rich variety of percussion, stringed and wind instruments.


Kali Nach of W est Bengal is another dance performed during Gajan, in honor of the Goddess Kali. Here, the performer wears a mask, purified by mantras, and dances with a sword, and when worked up can make prophetic answers.

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