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Dances and Blessing

These dances followed the appearance of Pattini. The Tovil Dancers re-appeared in white sarongs with red edges, white sari blouses and white head cloths. Around their waists were tied  wide red sashes. At the beginning of the dance they held bunches of areca flowers

Rice Cultivation Myth Dance?

To begin with there were three  dancers. They danced first in front of the Toran slowly to the drumbeat and then started whirling as the rhythm became faster. Then another dancer joined them. He took a clay pot of water from the Toran and danced with it before placing it carefully in the “hut”. He then took another small pot from the Toran and repeated these actions, first dancing with it and then placing it in the “hut”. The contents of these pots were to be utilised later.

At this point another dancer joined the four dancers. They all turned towards the Toran and to the drumbeat performed very deliberate steps, stamping at times, then from time to time one of them would whirl rapidly to a faster beat. - This was possibly the dance that mimes  Pattini introducing rice cultivation - Isvara appearing as a beggar before Pattini  and asking her for alms whilst she was meditating. As she had nothing, she stamped hard on the barren rock and created a paddy field. However when she harvested and cooked the rice for the beggar, he revealed himself as Isvara telling her he did not need rice (see section on Myths).

Then one dancer took the clay pot from the “hut” and after dancing with it replaced it on the Toran whilst .they continued dancing a little longer in front of the “hut”, audience and Toran and then this dance ended.

Torch Dance

Tthe next dance started immediately. The drummer and the dancers sang alternate lines.Then they took up lighted torches placed them in the “hut” and the shrine to the right of the Toran. This dance was much faster and one dancer at a time whirled around. There were shouts of “Ayobuan” - Long Life - as the drumbeats and dancing became faster. Then they each took up lighted torches from the shrines and danced with them, one in each hand, whirling them in a spectacular fashion as the drumbeats became faster and faster. They then threw flaming dummala around the Toran, Performance Area and shrines.

Next they juggled with the torches. The drumbeat stopped and then followed a comic interchange where they kept dropping the torches, one dancer pretended to instruct the others in juggling. At times they threw them into the centre, then picked them up and then started dancing  and juggling again. This was followed by more whirling and they progressed around the Performance Area  singing as they moved, from time to time the dancer nearest the audience twirled around with his torches. Then the dance climaxed with spectacular acrobatic whirling  before they all faced the Toran respectfully and bowed to end the dance.

Besides twirling and leaping, they  juggled with their lighted  torches. There was also a comic interchange between the dancers and the drummer at one stage on how to juggle as they kept dropping the torches!

You Tube Video Link

Gam Madua Part 6: Dances


At the beginning of these dances the dancers held areca flowers in their hands and the dance started quite slowly in time to the drumbeat. The first dance was possibly miming the myth concerning Pattini’s introduction of rice cultivation.

For the next stage of the dance they held lighted torches and danced with these.