When you think of Maharashtrian folk dance, one can’t help but think of the robust, dynamic and sensual dance form of Lavani. It is a combination of song and dance and is an integral part of the folk drama-style spectacle of the state of Maharashtra as well as the surrounding areas in the Konkan or Coastal Region. The word ‘Lavani’ is taken from the word ‘Lavanya’, which means beauty. The dance is performed by women to the beats of Dholki (a percussion instrument) and is noted for its powerful rhythm. Lavani is an amalgamation of music, poetry, dance and drama. Most common themes on which Lavani is performed are feelings like heroism, love, devotion, sorrow and various aspects of social life such as politics, religion, etc.
The Lavani dance was initially performed to bolster the morale of the warring troops during the 18th and the 19th century when the state of Maharashtra was entangled in conflict and was experiencing disruption. The dance form reached the peak of its popularity during the rule of the Peshawari Dynasty that was seated in Pune during which it was given support by the ruling elite. The Lavani dance was originally performed by Dhangars or shepherds living in the Solapur district of Maharashtra. They were inspired by nature and hence the dance form contains tales of the birth of their deity, thus giving it a religious connotation. Lavani has come a long way since then and has been adopted as an integral part of the culture of the state. Over the past few years, Lavani as a dance and as a musical form has evolved tremendously and it’s performed on lyrics related to modern times, thus giving it a universal appeal. The most typical part of each performance is the saree. The saree worn by the performers is called a nauvari ( a 9 yards long cloth) drape referring to the sari being tucked at the back.
Lavani is a graceful dance form with a deep and rich cultural history. It also happens to be one of Madhuri Dixit Nene’s personal favourite dance forms. She says, “For me, it’s like tapping into my roots and embracing the culture of my own motherland and my 1st loves – Marathi culture and dance.”
It is this love that she has for the dance form that led us to compose a special song. This Lavani song is full of life and speaks of love and romance in the urban era and how we can maintain the sanctity of being with each other in modern times. It was choreographed by Madhuri Dixit Nene herself and performed for the first time on dancewithmadhuri.com. It’s an ode to your loved one and in a way, it’s a special ode to Lavani from us. Take this online dance tutorial on Lavani by Madhuri Dixit and learn the basics of this beautiful dance.