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The lavani is a folk dance from Maharashtra, a state in the western region of India. The dance is accompanied by fast-paced music, led by an Indian drum (called a "Dholak") and other instruments, and dancers wear ankle bells called the "gunghroo." Traditionally, women perform the lavani wearing a 9-yard long saree (or sari), called a "nauvari." Male dancers, called "Nats" and "Kinnars," can also perform the dance. Lavani attempts to present social issues such as politics, romance and religion, often in a satirical and entertaining way. The genre can be divided broadly into philosophy-oriented Nirguni lavani, and the sensually-oriented Shringari lavani.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Nirguni Lavani; Shringari Lavani; Padhachi Lavani; Baithakichi Lavani

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Lavani and its accompanying music were originally used as a morale booster for soldiers in Maharashtra, a western Indian state, during the 18th and 19th Centuries. The exact origins in Canada are unclear, but it is believed that lavani was brought in the 1980s with Indian immigrants.

Who takes part?

This dance is performed predominately by females from an Indian background, although males occasionally participate.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Lavani is typically performed at special occasions, such as weddings and birthdays.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

Sanskriti Arts

Cultural Significance

The lavani is a significant form of physical culture for some members of the Maharashtra community.

Is there anything else we should know?



  • Sanskriti Arts – Dance and Fitness Studio
    2359 Royal Windsor Drive
    Mississauga, ON L5J 1K7

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