What is Lavani, and why is Maharashtra’s folk dance form in controversy?

Source: The post is based on the article “What is Lavani, and why is Maharashtra’s folk dance form in controversy?” published in Indian Express on 17th February 2023

What is the News?

NCP leader has directed members of his party to not organize public shows in the name of Lavani.

What is Lavani?

The word Lavani comes from ‘lavanya’ or beauty. It is a folk song-and-dance performance that is popular in Maharashtra.

In this, women dancers wearing nine-yard-long sarees in bright colours, make-up and ghunghroos perform on dholak beats on a stage before a live audience.

Historical significance: Lavani has a history going back several centuries, and it attained particular popularity in the Peshwa era in the 18th century. 

– Traditionally, performances were held in front of kings or lords, and for the entertainment of tired soldiers resting during breaks in fighting.

Types: There are several sub-genres of Lavani, of which the most popular is the Shringarik (erotic) kind, in which the lyrics are often teasing with sensuous dance steps and delicate gestures employed to convey erotic meaning.

What is the basis for criticism against Lavani?

The sensual component in Lavani has long been frowned upon. For instance, in 1948, the then Chief Minister of Bombay banned Lavani performances.

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