Kalbeliya dance in theory and practice

SOAS Summer School for Ethnomusicology

This course, delivered in partnership with SOAS, Kalbeliya World and Maghenta, provides an in-depth introduction to a North Indian art form known as Kalbeliya dance developed by a nomadic community in the state of Rajasthan. Being recognised as 'intangible cultural heritage' by UNESCO since 2010, Kalbeliya dance is often seen as an ancient tradition. However, this same dance practice, also known as ‘Indian gypsy’ or ‘snake charmers’ folk dance, appears to have originated as recently as the 1980s. Joncheere’s research gives an account of the swift development of Kalbeliya dance from its first appearance on stage in 1981 to the present.

Through this course, you will gain a fascinating critical insight into a dance at the crossroads of commercial tourism and political folklorism. You will also have the opportunity to try out how it looks and feels to dance with classes from original practitioners on video link from Rajasthan.

Purchase access to recordings of this course.

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