Kalbeliya Community of Rajasthan
The Kalbeliya is a snake-charmer community from Rajasthan. The Kalbeliyas rely heavily on this dance performance for their living. In the earlier days, the community was known for its constant movement from one place to another. They were mainly involved in the occupation of catching snakes and trading snake venom. Owing to this reason, the dance steps and costume resemble the movements of a snake. The Kalbeliyas are also known by the names of Sapera, Jogira or Jogi. They are spread in Pali district, Ajmer, Chittorgarh and Udaipur district and Jaipur.
Performance of Kalbeliya Dance
In Kalbeliya Dance, males play various traditional and folk instruments and females perform the dance. Kalbeliya Dance is usually performed by a group of two women standing in the centre of the stage. After this pair, another pair of women come and dances in the same way. As the women dancers move in a circle, while dancing, their body sway acrobatically, leaving an impression that they are made up of some flexible material like rubber. Their dance movement resembles that of the snakes. The beat of the dance increases in tempo and also there is an increase in their pace of the dance. Their perfect movements to the enchanting tune of musical instruments are a treat to the eyes.
Male participants take care of the musical part of the dance. They use different instruments like Pungi, Dufli, Been, Khanjari, Morchang, Khuralio and Dholak to create the rhythm on which the dancers perform. The performance relies heavily to the music of the Pungi, the Dufli and the plaintive notes of the Been, the wooden instrument of the snake charmers.
The dancers are required to constantly decrease the tempo of their gyrations and move to the corners to catch their breath while two other dancers would spin around to take their places in the centre. The specialty of this dance is that the dancers perform it in a beautiful synchronized rhythm.
Costume of Kalbeliya Dance
The Kalbeliya women dancers wear an Angrakhi on the upper part of the body and an Odhani on the head. They wear a long, black coloured and heavily embroidered skirt called Ghagra on the lower body which has a wide circumference. This complete dress of Kalbeliya Dance is essentially black in colour with the decorative laces and mirror works to resemble a black snake with white spots or stripes. Kalbeliya dancers wear lots of traditional jewellery.
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