India is blessed with many various Indigenous Tribes living in various states around the country, starting from the hills of Assam and Nagaland to Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka their presence can be found. For years we have been inspired by their ingenuity, cultures, honesty, traditions, and most importantly their art.Article 342 of the Constitution says that-‘The Scheduled Tribes are the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within these tribes and tribal communities which have been declared as such by the President through a public notification’. Among the tribal groups, several have adapted to modern life but there are tribal groups who are more vulnerable. A substantial list of Scheduled Tribes in India are recognised as tribal under the Constitution of India. Tribal people constitute 8.6% of India’s population. Though claimed to be the original inhabitants of India, many present-day Adivasi communities formed after the decline of the Indus Valley civilisation, harbouring various degrees of ancestry from ancient hunter-gatherers, Indus Valley civilisation, Indo-Aryan, Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burman language speakers.


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with The Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the National Tribal Research Institute (NTRI) have undertaken video documentation of the various tribal folk dances in different states of India to celebrate the diversity and richness of the tribal culture and practises. This attempt was to capture the uniqueness and distinctness of tribal life in different regions of India. In addition, the photo Documentation has featured images of individuals from different tribal communities with their distinct features, livelihoods, cultural, and religious practises. It brought forth their simplicity, honesty, and oneness with nature. The videos were used by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for wider dissemination for promotion of tribal culture amongst the general population.


We were given the responsibility to document and produce five videos on the five different tribes’ dances residing in Madhya Pradesh. Once we received the locations and what little literature there was on the tribes and the dances, we started working on a script for the purpose of the shooting. After a week of researching, we found that there was an acute shortage of verified information on these tribes, their dances, practises, faith, and lifestyle. This made coming up with a concrete script difficult because whatever information we were finding on the internet could not be verified, so we decided on creating a general story and a moodboard that we would be following during the shoot to guide us in getting the necessary shots.

Dance forms, Tribe and location
Sneek Peak


Bawa Dance
Bawa Dance It is performed during the celebrations of Holi and the dance is performed only by the male members of the Bhil tribe. The dance group is made up of a minimum of 15 participants and can go up to 200 or more depending on the occasion. The dancers from a circle around the Drums and other instruments, then they move in a concentric circle while keeping the beat of the drum and singing along it.
Gadali Dance
The Gadali Dance is one such dance form that has special significance to the Korku tribespeople. The dancers are accompanied by live music in the form of dholak, bansuri, and Timki. This dance is of great ritual and cultural significance to the Korku people. The Gadali Dance is performed Holi, Dushera, and on other traditional tribal festivals.
Karma Dance

he Gonds express themselves through different forms of dance like Saila,Rina, and Dadariya, which are performed during festivals. The Karma Dance is performed on different occasions. It is both a ritualistic and celebratory dance performed by tribal families. The Karma dance holds special significance for the Tribal people. Karma is a fast-paced acrobatic dance performed using sticks. The dance is performed by a group of 25 dancers who start the dance by forming a line and moving to the rhythm of the instruments, following which they change from into a circle.

Gudumb Dance

The Gudum Baja is an instrument and the dance accompanying it is called Gudumb Dance. This instrument is played by all different groups of the Gond Tribe in their songs and dance for all occasions of joy, celebration, marriages, and engagements.
They are proficient dancers and are often hired by others from the larger Gond Tribe to perform the Gudum Baja dance on different occasions. The tribe derives its name from the Flower of the ‘Mahua’ tree called ‘Koya pungar’. They also brew local liquor from Mahua.

Bharam Dance

The Bhadam dance starts with the dancers forming two lines facing each other while then they sway to the rhythm of the song.

Bhadam/Dhol Sambhol is the traditional dance of the Bharia tribe. Bhadam dance is also known by many other names such as Gunnu Sahi, Bhadni, Bhadnai, Bharnoti, or Bhangam dance. The principal instruments of the dance are the dhol, timki, and cymbals.