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Lavani dance pride of India: Suniel Shetty

Mumbai: Lavani, the sensuous folk dance of Maharashtra, is the pride of India, according to Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty. "Lavani is the pride not only of this state but of the entire country. Of late, it is also being used in Hindi films and actresses like Kareena and Katrina have swayed to its tunes," he said.

Shetty was speaking at the three-day Lavani festival, an annual initiative of the Directorate of Cultural Affairs of Maharashtra Government, in partnership with National Center of the Performing Arts (NCPA), here on Tuesday night. The festival showcases traditional folk arts such as Tamasha, Khadi Ganmat, Lavani and Dashavatar.

Maharashtra cultural affairs minister Sanjay Deotale said the state government holds the annual event to ensure that this art form gets due prominence.

Maharashtra Government`s Director of Cultural Affairs, Ashutosh Ghorpade said the event has been attracting important members of state politics, bureaucracy and industry.

A typical group of Lavani folk artistes in Maharashtra has 10-15 artists of which 9-10 are dancers and the rest are percussionists. Each year, the Directorate of Cultural Affairs invites nine groups to perform at the NCPA, in South Mumbai, during the budget session.

The word Lavani comes from the word `lavanya` which means beauty. The beginnings of Lavani can be traced back to 1560s. As a dance form, it requires lots of movements of the waist and the hip.

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