The Jhoomar dance is a folk dance from the Punjab region in both India and Pakistan. The origin of this folk art is believed to be the regions of Baluchistan and Multan, which are today a part of Pakistan. The Indian Punjabi folk dance tradition of Bhangra has integrated the Jhoomar tradition after the partition of India and Pakistan.

The name Jhoomar comes from the word ‘Jhoom’ which in North Indian and Pakistani languages like Punjabi means ‘to sway or swing’. This dance form is exclusively performed by the men and is considered to be a very jubilant form of dance. The dance troupe may typically consist of men from the same family, across generations. The Jhoomar dances are often accompanied by the chorus sing of traditional Punjabi folk songs of love and the daily lives of men. These dances are mainly performed at the Punjabi weddings as the primary form of entertainment.

Dance Form

The Jhoomar dances are not acrobatic like most other Punjabi folk dances. The dancers are well grounded to the land and do minimum amount of foot work, to only follow the simplest form of the rhythm. The dance movements are concentrated in the upper body and accentuated my several gestures and facial expressions of the performers. The folk songs that are sung by the musicians also play an important role in the dancing as they provide cues for dance movements. Since the songs are about the daily life of the villages and also love stories, the dancers have to adopt the proper gestures that represent the scene adequately and keep with the rhythm while doing it.

Musical Instruments

The Jhoomar dances require only basic musical instruments like the following:

Dhol: It is the traditional folk drum in the Indian subcontinent

Dufli: It is a large Indian tambourine.

Ektari: It is a single stringed instrument that is used to produce rhythmic drones.


Jhoomar as a separate dance form only exists in Pakistan, in India it has been incorporated in the Bhangara dances, in the form of stylistic nuances, formations, music and songs. It was almost extinct as a dance form after the partition.


There are several flavors of the Jhoomar dance; they are named on the rivers flowing in southern Punjab due to the correlation of the river’s mood to that of the dance. The forms are:

Jhoomar of Multani

Jhoomar of Beas

Jhoomar of Chenab

Jhoomar of Satluj

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