On 17th May, 2017, the Department of Performing Arts and Film, Makerere University in collaboration with the Indian High Commission in Uganda hosted the Indian Bhangra and Giddha Dance Group in a performance staged in the University Main Hall. The Indian Bhangra and Gidda Dance Group is a very energetic, enthralling and the most popular dance group from the Punjab State in North India.
The group treated the University community to a variety of exciting folk dances including the Bhangra Folk Dance, Giddha, Jhummar, Jindua, Malwai Giddha, Punjabi Opera, Jawabi Challa, and Luddi.
Bhangra is one of the most popular and thrilling Folk Dances of Punjab which is closely linked with harvesting and is danced on moonlit nights. The dance begins in slow rhythmic movements and reaches a crescendo. The leader of the dance is the drummer who plays at the center of the dancers. Traditional songs are sung by the dancers and there is immense scope of expressions. With each new couplet the dancers change their steps, accompanying them with refrains like ‘Balle balle and oye oye’.
Giddha is an immortal folk-dance of women of Punjab. On the eve of a happy and joyous occasion in the family, the young women dance together. Standing in a semi-circle, they clap and sing. Two of them advance away from the rest, sing and dance vigorously while others clap and join in singing. Giddha is a manifestation of the emotions of the daughter’s problem, hopes and aspirations. The malwa region of Punjab is the fountainhead of this form of folk-dance.
The folk orchestra introduced typical folk instruments of Punjab that are used in dancing and singing like the Algoza, Tumbi, Bugdoo, Chimta, Katto, Sap, Dholki, Matka Dhol, Been, Flute, Tallian and Duff.
The audience was also entertained to Jhummar, a distinctive folk dance of Southern Punjab of the Pre-partition. Jhummar is performed in a circle or spinning round. The dancers make a circle around the drummer and their gesture and movements consists of bending, swinging, spinning, swaying and clapping romantic emotions.
The dance group also performed Jindua, a love showing dance and singing which is based upon a very popular folk tune “Jind mahi ambian to oye”. Jindua literally means ‘My Life’, the lover and beloved address each other Jindua and exchange notes about the ways of the world.
Malwai Giddha, a typical variety of folk dance, particularly popular in the region of Malwa and performed by the men, generally displayed at their collective festivals in which they sing boliyan (couplets) and dance on that using different instruments did not also miss on the menu.
The most touching was the Punjabi Opera (Kirti di Kulli) that depicts the social evil prevalent in the part when poor farmers harvest their hard earned crop and the Jamindar (Landlord) snatches away his produce forcibly from him.
The show was coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga – Tamusuza, Head Department of Performing Arts and Film at Makerere University and attended by among others the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, H.E Shri Ravi Shankar; the Principal College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Prof. Edward K. Kirumira; the Director Research and Graduate Training at Makerere University, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi; and the Director, Planning and Development Department, Dr Florence Naka