Kirtan dance is one of the most common folk-dances performed in the West Bengal state of India.
Kirtan involves chanting hymns or Mantras while dancing to the accompaniment of certain instruments. Also in Sanskrit the verb ‘Krit’ means praising. Kirtan dance is related to the worship of Lord Vishnu and has great antiquity attached to it.
This dance was given its proper form by the great religious revivalist, Chaitanya Deva. The person who performs this dance is called as a ‘Kirtankar’ or, colloquially, a ‘Kirtaneer’.
Feature of Kirtan Dance
The most outstanding feature of the Kirtan dance is that it can be performed by members of the whole village without any distinction on the basis of caste, class or religion.
Thus the rich and poor, young and old, Zamindar and tenant all freely participate in it.
Performance of Kirtan Dance
The dance is quite simple with the devotees forming a ring and moving round in a circular pattern raising and lowering their hands with the beating of the musical instruments.
Musical Instruments and
Generally, two types of musical instruments are used to accompany the dance performance which includes Khol and drum.
Spiritual Sentiments of Kirtan Dance
This dance has great spiritual fervour attached to it. In it the spiritual sentiments of the dancers rise up to the surface level and conclude with a feeling of religious ecstasy.
At times this dance is performed through a procession taken through the village. Such type of dance is known as ‘Nagar-Kirtan’.