In the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, spring season is celebrated with the Bana dance. It is performed only by men. Each dancer holds a bamboo stick of about four feet long. Most probably the dance originated as a martial dance. Later, its character changed and it became a joyous dance to celebrate the spring season. The most avid on lookers are young girls of the village. Quite a few of the youthful dancers have their girl-friends in the audience. While dancing, a pair of lovers may exchange meaningful glances and quietly slip out and go to a predetermined place of tryst. None notices a dancer slipping out and again joining the dance. It is said that earlier the Bana dancers used to wear masks of different animals, but now none wears a mask. The drum Dhol rules the dance. The drummer has to be an expert player, because the tempo varies and the rhythmic phrases are really crisp that inspire the dancers who dance in circle around the Dhol player. Occasionally, Thali, a plate like idiophone made up of bell metal is played to enhance the appeal of the percussion music.
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