The Julli dance is a religious fold dance from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. The Julli dance is often linked to Sufi mystics and their traditions but it the Muslim priests and mystics called ‘Pir’ perform this dance.

The Julli dance was incorporated into the Bhangara tradition since the Hindu, Sikh and the Muslim communities lived together in harmony in the fertile plains of Punjab from ancient times. It was inevitable that these cultures would influence and integrate some practices of one another. The Julli dance is performed by the reclusive pirs who are the followers of different Muslim saints. The shrines where the tombs of these saints are located are called the ‘Khangahs’ and it is where the pirs live in penance. The Julli dance is only performed in a khangah by the residing pirs. The dancers strictly wear simple black clothing and mandatorily cover their heads with a black scarf. There is minimal pomp and the all the folk songs that are sung have a religious themes usually with the praise of god. The Jullli dance can also be performed by a single pir.

Dance Form

The Julli dance is a non-acrobatic dance. One of the most interesting features of this dance forms, is that it is performed sitting down. The pirs often sit down in groups of four of five and sing the religious ballads of the Muslim god and prophets. All the articulations are about the upper body and while a staff is held by both hands. The scenes and ideas in the songs are emphasized by gestures of the dancer-singer. The lead singer is usually the leading pir who starts singing while his followers are position a bit behind him and keep time by clapping.

Musical Instruments

Only one instrument may be cited to be used in Julli dances, at least one of its forms.

Ghungroo: they are small silver or bronze bells that are usually worn at the ankles but may be worn anywhere on the body or held in hands so as to jingle.


This form of Punjabi folk art of the Julli dance is fast falling into disuse. It is already been endangered and there is a fear that it may completely disappear. There are many reasons for this, one being the strict emphasis on simplicity and its very pious attitude does not appeal to the present day youth.


The various forms of this dance can be called the different positions and props adopted by the dancers.

Instead of facing the audience the pirs circle the tomb and shrine of the saint.

In another form the pirs may wear ghungroos and jingle with the meter of the song.

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