Folk Dance of Andhra Pradesh

Folk Dance of Andhra Pradesh

  • Indian folk and tribal dances range from simple, joyous celebrations of the seasons of the harvest, or the birth of a child to ritualistic dances to propitiate demons and invoke spirits.
  • There are dances involving balancing tricks with pitchers full of water, or jugglery with knives. Other dances highlight activities like ploughing, threshing and fishing.
  • The costumes are generally flamboyant with extensive use of jewelry by both the sexes. Some dances are performed exclusively by men and women, but most have them dancing together. Nearly all involve singing by the dancers.
  • The drum is the most common of the folk instruments that provide musical accompaniment to these dances.


Folk Dance means Performing Art of Andhra Pradesh

  • Andhra Pradesh is rich in traditional folk art forms, which have provided popular entertainment for the common folk, imparting instruction, while providing entertainment, alongside classical forms of dance and drama for a considerable period in history.
  • The folk performing arts had filled an important lacuna in the otherwise mundane lives of the people.
  • There are two major types of folk dance forms –
  1. One that is pure rhythmic forms (the rhythm being provided by an instrument) without any accompanying song; Ex:- Butta Bommalu, Gargalu and Veera Natyam, Dappula Nrityam
  2. The other that couples dance with story narration in which the dance content is more important than the narration of a story. Ex- Kolatam, Chakka Bhajana and Tappetagullu
  • Dappula Nrityam belongs to the first category. There are also some forms in which the rhythmic accompaniment of a percussion instrument becomes the base of a dance, but there is also minimal singing.
  • While Butta Bommalu, Gargalu and Veera Natyam belong to the first category where there is dance without any signing; such forms as Gitravayya Nrityam and Urnmula Nrityam have some initiatory music.
  • At the other extreme are the second categories of dances which combine rhythmic dance movements with musical narration: Kolatam, Chakka Bhajana and Tappetagullu are such forms which happily combined musical narration and dance.


Major Folk Dance of Andra Pradesh


Veera Natyam


  • Among the several rituals in the Veera Saiva cult that dominate the festive occasions and incite the devotees, the Veera Natyam is the most important.
  • The external manifestations of bhakti are prominent during these festivals. Some of them are very ferocious and incite awe and fear.
  • In this the dancers tie oneself with long, sharp intertwined ropes (Veera tallu), to insert sharp and pointed instruments through the cheeks, the tongue and the lips and render eulogistic entreaties in praise of Lord Siva are common to Veera Saiva rituals.
  • Veera Natyam has long been a part of this whole ritual, but now a days is taken out of the context and is shown as a separate dance form.


Kuchipudi – Folk Dance of Andhra Pradesh

 Folk Dance

  • Kuchipudi is an outstanding dance form which originated in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Kuchipudi is not just a dance however it is a fine combination of song, speech, gestures, and dance.
  • A Kuchipudi dancer must have proficiency in various languages, music, acting, dancing, and texts.
  • Siddhendra Yogi in the 17th century started Kuchipudi dance form at the time of bhakti movement.


Gobbi Folk Dance

  • This is one of the fashionable dance forms from coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Gobbi dance is the main magnetism during the Samkranti festival and during this time, the courtyards of all houses are cleaned and decorated.
  • The flowers of Gobi Dance are used with different kinds of rangavallis, for decoration purposes.
  • Gobbillu i.e. balls of cow dung are positioned in the middle of these rangavalli designs.
  • In the evening, young girls assemble around this gobbillu to dance and sing.
  • One can say that this dance is a derivative form of Garba dance performed in circular direction.


Kolatam Folk Dance


  • Kolatam is known as Danda Rasakam, Danda Nartanam, Vestitam and Halli Sakam in different parts of the country, Kolatam is a popular dance in all parts of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is also called Kolannalu, Kollamata and Kolanna in other parts of the state.
  • Though we have literary evidence to show that Kolatam dance was widespread more among the ladies at one time, this is now mostly performed by men only.
  • Similar dance form in Gujarat is called ‘Dandia’. “Urumulu” means thunder.
  • As it gives a echoing thunderous sound, the instrument and the dance that accompanies its rhythm are known as “Urumu” and “Urumula Nrithyam”.
  • It is widely prevalent in Anantapur and Kurnool districts and is popular in Saiva festivals.
  • This Dance is also performed in Jangamma and Timmamma festivals and during the worship of such deities as Bommayya and Veeranarayana Swami.


Tappeta Folk Dance


  • Tappeta Gullu is widely popular in the extreme northern districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, Tappeta gullu is a celebratory dance, presented in honour or Gangamma, the water deity by the Yadava community.
  • The dance gets its name from the instrument used by the performers – the “Tappeta Gundlu” which is made either by tin or wood, almost in the form of a cone and is covered by leather.
  • The instrument is hung round the neck with a small rope and is played with both the hands.


Mathuri Folk Dance

  • The Mathuri dances are extraordinary tribal dances by the Mathuri tribes, of the Adilabad district of the Andhra Pradesh, performed during the rainy month of Shravana.
  • Mathuri dance is a dance in which men and women folk participate together, women participants forming the inner circle and men the outer semi-circle.
  • The dancers sing themselves devotional and secular songs while dancing.


Garagalu / Garika /Veta Natyam


  • Garagalu is Known also as Garika, which is especially popular in East and West Godavari districts with that name. ‘Garaga’ means a vessel – usually an earthen-ware.
  • The Garaga, an important and sacred vessel which symbolizes the synthesizing of earth, water and sed, occupies an important role in all wedding celebrations.
  • Besides, in all village festivals, the pujari carries a large Garaga on his head in which devotees put rice, curd and other eatables as a part of fulfillment of their oath.
  • The vessel occupies a similar place in rural festivals as the Utsava Vigrahas’ have in temple festivals. Puli Vesham is a popular entertainment in Coastal Andhra villages.
  • Also known as ‘Veta (hunting) Nrityam , the form is one of those that imitate animals and recreate the feeling of an ancient man fighting his way through the terrifying experiences of confronting and overcoming the beasts of the forests.


Dhimsha Folk Dance


  • It is very popular in Andhra Pradesh
  • This dance is very popular among the tribes inhabiting the Araku Valley region of Vishakhapatam.
  • Dhimsa danceis performed by 15-20 women forming a chain.
  • It is generally performed in local fairs and festivals of the area.
  • The costumes of this dance are typical tribal cloths with proper ornamentation.


Other Various Dances Folk Dances



  • Butta BommaluDance–  This is a fashionable dance form in Tanaku of west Godavari Districtof Andhra Pradesh. Each dancer used to wear dissimilar masks over the head and shoulders.


  • BathakammaDance– Bathakammas are mainly performed by female participants in a region, Telengana of Andhra Pradesh during the time of Bathakamma Festival of State.


  • Bonalu Dance:- This dance is performed by female folk balancing pots on their heads. This is performed in the Telengana region.


  • Veeranatyam – The Dance of the Brave Veeranatyam means the dance of Lord Shiva which was done when Lord Shiva got exasperated with the humiliation and death of Sati. Veeranatyam dance form is also called the dance of destruction. This particular dance is even now accomplished by the people who belong to Veeramusti community, that claim to be the offspring of Veerbhadra.
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