Rajasthan is rightfully called the land of culture and traditions. One such tradition being Ghoomar. A dance form practiced traditionally by Rajput women within the four walls of the jenana, it recently came under controversy with the release of the movie Padmavati’s song Ghoomar. Rajputs cried foul on seeing their much revere Maharani Padmini Devi of Udaipur portrayed as someone dancing with kaalbelias. Especially since Deepika Padukone claimed to have trained under Jyothi D Tomar, Director and caretaker of Gangaur Ghoomar Dance Academy Mumbai which was started by HH Rajmata Goverdhan Kumari of Santrampur. Tripti Singh, the founder of Twirl With Grace elucidates on the dance form.
In schools, young girls often perform Ghoomar to traditional Rajasthani songs, unaware of its historical background and international reach. This folk dance performed by the Rajput ladies on every happy gathering, while the men sing alongside, derives the name from the word "Ghoomna”, which simply means pirouetting and going around in circles, moving in and out of it. Swirling robes and swaying ghagras create a hypnotic sight when accompanied by alluring live folk music.
Tripti Singh Daudsar, a Rajput from Bikaner, divulges the prominence of Ghoomar and what made her come up with "Ghoomar – Twirl with Grace". She recalls her very first performances during her school days and her grandmother performing the act of "Nichaaro" after that because she (the grandmother) feared it would get to her head.
Having grown up with Ghoomar, watching and performing it on every festive occasion, Tripti became greatly fond of the highly revered dance form and also refers to Ghoomar as an important point of association for every Rajput household and especially the ladies. It was in 2012 that the need for a get-together with other Rajput women and friends turned into an idea that was finally launched in 2016 as Ghoomar – Twirl With Grace.
"The idea was to bring Ghoomar out of Rajasthan. So we started from Gurgaon. Friends from different states asked us to come to their place. We then went on to organize an event in Indore because Ghoomar isn’t very common there.” Twirl With Grace addresses the dance in its most puritanical form. Tripti holds the tradition sacrosanct.
Tripti also enunciates how Gurgaon is close to her heart. She remember her friends in Gurgaon, who are not Rajputs, learning the dance for a month and then dressing up in the compulsory "poshak" and getting compliments which felt amazing. "The idea was always to teach the dance to other ladies and not restrict it to Rajput community and eventually spread love and warmth with the dance.” She describes the feeling of being recognized amongst the 425 ladies in Indore when everyone wanted a selfie with the camera-shy lady and how it gave her Goosebumps. "The recognition and affection that "ghoomar" gets is overwhelming", she goes on to say. "The joy that the dance brings is important. Its the feeling of being yourself which is more important than the song which is playing when you dance".
On portrayal of the dance in the movie Padmavati she said, “ I am most saddened at the fact that the Dance Academy founded by a royal trained her. We have to be custodians of our culture. Otherwise why even claim to be a Rajput.”