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any of several Hindustani folk-dance dramas of Rajasthan, northwestern India. Khyal dances date from the 16th century and use themes taken from folklore and legend. They are performed exclusively by men, are characterized by the powerful body movements of the performers, and include mime and chanting. Percussion and stringed instruments accompany the khyal. The professional dancers of the khyal are known as Bhawni.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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