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About the Dance
The Kalbeliya are a nomadic community of musicians, mystics and herbalists from Rajasthan, Northern India. Nowadays this dance is also popularly known as Gypsy Dance or “Sapera” Dance or the dance of the “snake charmers”.
The high-impact movements of the dance visualize their traveling lifestyle, whereas the fluidity in their body gestures on the sound of the pungi (flute) looks as mesmerizing as the cobras they evoke. This improvised and high-energy dance style contains a lot of fast spins, elegant hand gestures, feminine hip moves and grounded tapping of the feet on the rhythms of the region’s traditional drums, such as dholak (dubbel framed drum), dafli (small tambourine), chang (large tambourine) and manjeeras (cymbals). Most Kalbeliya women are not only dancers, but are also excellent singers.
In 2010, UNESCO inscribed Kalbeliya folk songs and dances on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The dance has also become a bold vehicle for changing the status of Kalbeliya women, many of whom are now their family’s main provider.
The class schedules are all listed in India Standard Time (IST). To easily convert them in your local time zone, simply type “Convert time from IST to” into Google. (Or just click that pink link!)
Our Kalbeliya World dancers have gained a dedicated following of students from around the world who have traveled to India specifically to train with them. And yet, as they are spread across the large state of Rajasthan, each teacher has (until now) been on her own.
Inspired by the COVID travel bans, we are bringing together these incredible teachers for the first time, so they may continue to feed their families, while the broader global audience gets to enjoy their talents and take part of this growing cultural dance movement.
This has been no small feat, as many of the dancers live without running water, electricity or computers. It is with enormous gratitude to our “buddy system” of international volunteers, that we’ve been able to provide each dancer with dedicated support to facilitate this exciting & challenging transition.
This support not only includes helping their dancers with various administrative and technical support, but also the marketing and business skills training they need to eventually run this program on their own.
It goes without saying, we are incredibly proud of our new entrepreneurs, as they’ve been learning online applications such as Zoom, Instagram, YouTube, payment gateways, and more. The indomitable Kalbeliya spirit has carried us through the most challenging times, as our dancers proudly journey toward independence.
Your Class Fees in Action
Each dance class costs just $10 (U.S.) and is sold as drop-in classes. 100% of the class proceeds provides a monthly income for our teachers and their families. If you choose, you can also donate an extra few dollars at checkout. Donations are appreciated but not required, and 100% goes to Food Relief and Community Support Programs in the Kalbeliya communities of Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Pushkar (all located within the state of Rajasthan, India). If you do choose to throw in a few extra, you might find it helpful to know that $25 (U.S.) feeds 1 family for 1 month.