Steps to Learn the Garba Dance

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The Garba dance originates from Gujarat, India and is connected with the Krishna’s raas lil, a popular type of folk theater. Krishna’s granddaughter-in-law, Usha, is credited for popularizing the dance throughout the country. The original version of Garba only included men, who would dance in a circular formation. Now, both sexes participate. Dancers use dandiyas, sticks with bells at the end, which jingle when struck. The dance moves in a rhythmic way and increases in speed with each person performing their own solo in the middle.

Girls Garba

Enter in with 18 steps, starting with the right foot and moving in a circular pattern. Do the pick-up and leave steps (similar to a kicking and/or shuffling two-step movement) going from left to right four times. From the left, make turn. Then, turn in the opposite direction. Do this twice. Do the Dholida hop by jumping on your right leg and clapping your left shoulder three times. Start on the inside, do the pick-up and leave step, and then do the same step outside the circle. Do the peacock step (bending forward like a peacock) four times. Using both hands, heench (generally means rhythmically hit or raise hand) on the right shoulder four times, and then repeat on the left side. Repeat the first two turns and the Dholida hop. Then, grab the dandiya, and click it 11 times.

Dandiyas are sticks created specifically for the Navaratri Dandiya Ras dance. These are struck together during the dance, and the sticks originate in the culture of Gujarati and can be found in Hindu legends.

Boys and Girls Garba

Create a circle with six steps, starting with your right foot. Do the eight-step movement four times. Make turns on the last two movements. Clap drums three times. Repeat the eight-step movement an additional three times. Clap hands with partner 15 times. Take three steps forward and then turn. Do this five times. End in a V formation.

Boys and Girls Raas

Starting from the right, click (hit hands) with your partner. Move to the next partner, moving first counterclockwise and then clockwise. Girls start on right leg and two-step to the inside. Guys start with their right leg and two-step on the outside. When doing the fourth step, add the dandiyas. Now, with hands raised and dandiyas spinning, girls move clockwise and boys counterclockwise four times. Next, within four steps, spin clockwise and form two lines. Begin with the right hand and click with your partner. Do the same with the right hand. Then, do the click by yourself with turning your back to your partner. Hit the dandiyas six times, and then get rid of them.