Terah Taali

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Line up

  • GANGABAI KAMAD  (cymbals (terah) & dancer)
  • KAMLA (cymbals (terah) & dancer)
  • MOOLDAS (manjeera player & singer)
  • OM PRAKASH  (dholak player)
  • POOJA KUMARI  (cymbals (terah) & dancer)
  • ROOPDAS KAMAD (tambura player & singer)

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Created by the Kamad community that draws its name from an indigenous word for wood, the Terah Taali is Rajasthani style of dance performed to appease the local deity of the community known as Baba Ramdeo. The dancers produce and move to the reverberating sounds of Terah (thirteen Cymbals know also as Manjeeras) that are fastened to their waist, wrists, elbows and hands. This dance form is an eclectic mix of movement and sound and gives the unique impression that the dance itself is producing music instead of it being performed to the music. The performances of the Terah Taali are occasionally punctuated with other kinds of display of talent such as the balancing of multiple pots placed one over the other on the dancers head, holding of a sword between ones teeth or lit oil lamps on ones palms or dancing on upturned glass tumblers, etc.

The women perform this astonishing dance accompanied by male singers who play the Tandoora and the Dholak and sing Bhajans and Dohas (couplets). In a performance one cymbal each is tied to both the arms, one is tied on the big toe and another one to the instep of the foot of the right leg which has seven other cymbals along its length and two are held in the hand. One, two or three performers sit in front of the stage and begin the dance at a slow note slowly stretching out the right leg and striking the cymbals with each other and then start to give themselves over to the rise in the pace of the rhythm. At their pinnacle the women move at a rapid, energetic speed and eke out a captivating design of movement in changing the order of the strikes thus creating beautiful rhythm patterns. They seem to be under a divine spell as they sway their upper body back and forth in unison, at times inclining to the toe and at yet others moving sideways or bending backwards to strike the cymbal on the arm. With the rise in tempo and in the swiftness of their movements they bring forth a fascinating example of agility, grace and vigor.

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