- The word Lavani comes from ‘lavanya’ or beauty. Lavani is a traditional folk art form in which 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.
- As an indigenous art form, 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.
- 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.
- Over the years, Lavani has gained more acceptability among the people, even though certain taboos around it continue.
- The audience has historically been all-male, but in recent years, some women too have begun to attend performances.
- Lavani became well known outside Maharashtra — throughout India and even outside the country — following its use in popular media such as cinema.
- Over the past few years, with the explosion in the use of social media, short clips of dances have become very popular.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB