Art & Culture

Kalbeliya Dance

  • Kalbeliya Dance is a traditional Indian dance form from the state of Rajasthan.
  • Members of the Kalbeliya, a nomadic tribe of snake charmers in Rajasthan, perform this vibrant, energetic dance.
  • It is a sensual dance in which the dancers perform intricate footwork and sway their arms and bodies.
  • UNESCO inscribed Rajasthan’s Kalbelia folk songs and dances on its Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010.

Specifics about performance

  • The dancers are women in flowing black skirts who twirl and dance in the manner of a serpent.
  • They wear an angrakhi as an upper body cloth and an odhani as a headcloth; a lehenga as a lower body cloth.
  • All of these garments are embroidered and have a red and black colour scheme.
  • The male participants create the rhythm for the dancers by playing musical instruments such as the ‘pungi,’ dufli, been, khanjari – a percussion instrument, morchang, khuralio, and dholak.
  • The dancers have traditional designs tattooed on their bodies and wear jewellery and garments richly embroidered with small mirrors and silver threads.
  • As the performance progresses, the rhythm and dance become faster and faster.

The Kalbeliya Dance’s Characteristics

  • Quick footwork: The Kalbeliya dance’s fast, intricate footwork is the highlight of this folk dance. The dancers move their feet quickly and sharply, creating intricate patterns on the floor.
  • Swirling skirts: The female dancers’ colourful skirts swirl gracefully as they move, adding to the beauty of the dance.
  • Hand and arm movements: The dancers’ hands and arms are used to create graceful, fluid movements that are essential to the dance.
  • Singing: Kalbeliya dancers frequently sing along to the music as they perform, adding to the atmosphere of the show.
  • Traditional Kalbeliya music is accompanied by drums and cymbals, which contribute to the lively, energising atmosphere.
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