Dekhni is a very popular dance of Goa which represents a blend of Indian melody with the tangy Western rhythm. The Dekni or Dekhni dance of Goa is usually performed by the Christian girls who dress up in beautiful Indian attires. The performance includes singing as well as dancing. In this particular dance, the life of a girl who is considered as a servant of god ‘Devdasi’ is protrayed. Devadasi usually performs dance in temples also during wedding ceremonies. Carlos Eugenio Ferreira had composed the most popular Dekhni song, “ Hanv Saiba Poltodi Vetam” which was promulgated in Paris and later in Goa.
The Origin of Dekhni
The significance of ‘Dekhni’ is ‘captivating beauty’ in Konkani language.
The theme of the Dekhni dance depends on the Devadasi system of the Goans where the women dedicate themselves to God. The devadasis dedicate their entire lives to God without marriage and don’t have families. The dance is performed as a dedication for their God in the temples since ancient times.
Theme of Dekhni Dance
The story of the Devdasi girl is that she goes to a riverbank as she has to cross the river urgently. She has to go across the river to attend a wedding ceremony. The boatman disagrees saying that the water is very rough and that he cannot take her across the river as it is unsafe for her travel. Then the Devadasi gives her earring made of gold to the boatman. Then at last the dancers perform a dance for the boatman and then he agrees to ferry them across the river.
The classical dances like the Bharata Natyam and Kathak are the dance forms from where the gestures of the performers are borrowed. This dance is exclusively performed by the women folk. The music is a mash up of the western and the Indian melodies.
The dancers with their clay lamps with a wick in the oil sing a song which is in form of a conversation between the girl and the boatman. The Ghumat or the drum is the instrument used for the Dekhni songs. This dance is performed throughout Goa.