Fire Dance is one of the most popular folk dances of Rajasthan that is performed by the Banjara Community of the desert region. This dance form depicts the lifestyle of Jasnathis belonging to Churu and Bikaner. It is one of the oldest and most difficult dance forms practiced only by skilled artists and dancers. Interestingly, the dancers are believed to possess tantric powers and don’t get a single blister while playing with fire.
When the dancers play with fire and perform deadly stunts it appears as if they are guarded by a divine protection. They literally play with fire and entertain the audiences with their deadly acts of valor. This dance is performed in open spaces of the desert whereby a bed of charcoal and live wood is spread on the ground.
The Jasnathi men jump on the fire bed and hold fire rods dipped in kerosene. They even take the fire inside their mouth and then light it up again, spitting out kerosene on the rods and producing flames from their mouth. All these stunts are performed on the loud sound of the drum beats.
The fire dance starts to the rhythm of drum beats and gradually the tempo increases reaching to the point of crescendo. By this moment, the dancers get into a trance-like state. Sometimes, women also perform this dance by swinging in circles around the fire with Kalash on their hands, thus combining other folk dances with fire elements.
Rajasthan’s fire dance is usually performed in the winter season in the cold nights of the desert. Many hotels and resorts in Rajasthan host such folk performances for the entertainment of the guests. People come from far off places to witness such performances that exhibit the rich culture of the state. Holi and Janmashtami are some common occasions during which the fire dance is performed.