This is also a male dance of Punjab. It is danced to celebrate a victory in any field. Usually performed by the males in the folk culture, the Luddi dance is performed as a celebratory dance that celebrates victory of any Punjabi in any field. The dance movements in this dance form are slow and are often integrated with the traditional Bhangra.
Though these are performed at all auspicious events, the highlight of this dance is that it is performed in all events in a marriage, like baraat, mehendi etc. Being a very high energy, and high enthusiastic dance performance, this just takes the crowd around to the bliss of happiness. Ludi dance is also performed when people want to celebrate their victory – in sports or life and also at times of certain festivals, like the beginning of the harvest season.
The Punjabis celebrate their success with the ludi dance and there is no gender difference as they have a good time at a round of this dance. Though the Punjabis are generally very famous for their colorful dress materials, Ludi in particular has no dress format. A loose top or shirt is sometimes just the dress of that the Ludi dancers wear. The loose dressing pattern just goes to prove that there are no hard and fast rules and it is just about enjoyment of the dance.
While the dance is definitely fast and entertaining, on careful watch, we can see a very rhythmic pattern to it. It is lithe and supple and very graceful and a treat to the eyes to watch this dance. So, the more professional the dancer is the more graceful the Ludi dance turns out to be. We can see a very snake like systematic movement all through the dance.
There are groups of people who participate in this dance and the main attraction is the specific head movements that they practice. So in Punjabi marriage functions like the arrival of the groom’s group or in the bride’s party where the mehendi functions happen, it is very likely that there will be a Ludi performance going on. Every time there is happiness and celebration, then there will be a group of Punjabis doing the Ludi dance as well.
Apart from the head movements, we can also see another important style – this time with respect to their positioning of the hands. Very different yet agile – one hand is placed on the back and the other hand comes in front of their faces. This is a very different and very unambiguous style of Ludi and gives it so much grace and vibrancy at the same time.
We can also see a drummer amidst all the Ludi dancers. When the group of dancers is performing, there is a drummer in the middle of the group – who gives the necessary energy and drum beats for the exciting and rapid dance. In a way these drum beats also give us a feel that the entire Ludi dance is based on this drum beat of the drummer, making it more aligned and rhythmic. The dancers generally dance as pairs. This a beauty of the Punjabi culture, where in every woman in encouraged to dance with her man – quite unlike other patterns of any folk dance form.
In an attempt of copying the movement of a snake, the performers keep one hand on the face and the other on their backs. The dance is often accompanied in the traditional form by a drummer who is usually in the centre and is rarely used as a part of the core dance itself. Across Sutlej, this is a fairly popular dance from Punjab, much more popular than Bhangra. The dance also boasts of a huge historical background and refers to a historical moment in the journey when the Punjabi Sardars began the rescue of the women of India who were forced to sell their bodies in the markets of Basra.
The costumes of the dance form are fairly simple. A Loincloth is usually the main thing that is worn by an exaggerated Kurta. Another accessory that is often used by men is the traditional Turban and the Patka. This dance is performed majorly by the men of Punjab.