ID # kalbeliya43a
Copyright 2002 - Jean-Philippe Soule   &

Country: India   /   Village: Pushkar
Ethnic Group: Kalbeliya   /   Feature: Music & Dance

This young Kalbeliya Gypsy dancer is dressed in full regalia for the Pushkar Festival. Kalbeliya girls learn how to dance at an early age; some perform as early as 9 or 10 years old.
The Kalbeliya Gypsy people are known as the snake charmer caste. The women are skilled dancers and are accompanied by men playing percussion and wind instruments. The Kalbeliya were once hired to entertain great kings and maharajahs. Today they are sadly considered to be squatters and experience much discrimination. They struggle to preserve their culture and dances. They follow Indian fairs and festivals hoping to get hired to perform dances in hotels and private resorts.

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