Although Ludhiana is the industrial hub of Punjab, yet it is also famous for its rich culture and folk heritage. The claim to the fame and name of Ludhiana is not at all restricted within its commercial aspect only. As a matter of fact the Ludhianvis are very fond of fun and enjoyment. There are many folk dances of which the Bhangra, Gidda and Jhumur are the famous.
Bhangra : Bhangra celebrates the harvest and is associated with the festival of Baisakhi (April 13th) when the sight of tall heaps of golden wheat fill the farmer’s heart with joy. To the accompaniment of large drums called dhols, he and his fellow villagers circle round and round in a leaping, laughing caper. It’s a dance that cuts across all divisions of class and education. At marriages, parties, or celebrations of any sort, it is quite common for men to break out in Bhangra. There are few sights more cheering than that of a dignified elder in three-piece suit getting up to join the young fellows for a moment of bhangra revelry
Bhangra is considered the king of dances. There are several styles of dancing Bhangra. Sialkoti, Sheikhupuri, Tribal, Malwa, Majha. One of the Bhangra's moves is also akin to the moves of Shiv-Tandav dance, which is danced on one leg. Damru, hand-drum is also used in Bhangra which shows that folk dances and war dances have similar parentage.
Gidha : Women have a different but no less exuberant dance called gidda. The dancers enact verses called bolis, which represent folk poetry at its best. The subject matter of these bolis is wide ranging indeed – everything from arguments with the sister-in-law to political affairs figure in these lively songs. Aside from the drums, the rhythm of this dance is set by the distinctive handclaps of the dancers.
The vitality of Bhangra can also be seen in the Giddha dance of the women of Punjab. This dance translates into gestures, bolian-verses of different length satirizing politics, the excesses committed by husbands, their sisters and mothers, loneliness of a young bride separated from her husband, evils of society or expressing guileless deep love.
The dance is derived from the ancient ring dance. One of the girls plays on the drum or 'dholki' while others form a circle. Some times even the dholki is dispensed with. While moving in a circle, the girls raise their hands to the level of their shoulders and clap their hands in unison. Then they strike their palms against those of their neighbors. Clapping of hands generally provides rhythm.
Jhummar dance has originally come from Sandalbar (now in Pakistan), but is now very much a part of Punjab folk heritage. It is a dance of graceful gait, based on specific Jhummar rhythm.
The Jhummar is a dance of ecstasy. It is a living testimony of the happiness of men. Any time is Jhummar time especially during Melas, weddings and other major functions and celebrations. Performed exclusively by men, it is a common feature to see three generations - father, son and grandson - dancing all together. There are three main types of jhummar, each of which has a different mood, and is therefore suited too different occasionally, reason of its predominating mood.
The other dances, however, are Luddi, Julli, Kikli, Sammi, Gatka, Dhamal, Jaago and Dankara. Each one has its their own style and rhythm. Julli, among these are somewhat different, as it is associated with the Pirs – the Muslim Holy men. This dance is also performed in the sitting posture by the dancers in black attires, which is another point of difference form all the other categories of dances.