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Sapera Dance

This dance form is just like how a snake twirls and it involves many heavy twirls and rich and heavily embroidered robes. Sapera is the snake charmers which have now reduced to a mere few hundred after the introduction of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.


The kalbelia women are known for their flexible bodies and the sensuous and rapid spinning movements.

This tribe is a nomadic tribe who was basically snake-charmers from Rajasthan and has been tabooed as the scheduled and the untouchable caste. They were banned and seen down by the society so for their living, they have found cures for snake bites, making people’s house free of snakes and making tourist aware of the snakes and of course the snake dances. This tribe has been living and following the same routine, traditions and their lifestyle since the medieval times and have learnt to earn their living through all these means of occupation and employment.

The men used to earn money through all these activities and the women of this tribe used to occasional dance on the streets on festivals with an aim to earn the extra money from the rich. There was a young girl names Gulabi Sapera who was spotted by the Rajasthan Ministry of tourism on the streets. Her clan was against her performing, but despite of all these bans and opposition, she managed to perform this art form on stage and slowly became a face of this dance form.

Performance of Sapera Dance

The kalbelia dancers worship the snake god and the women wear black clothes while performing that is well decorated with silver mirror work or ribbons. The women dances and the males play the musical instruments. They are known for their skill to attract snakes and perform the hand mudras and the flexible bodies that twirl on every beat.

Sapera Dance Elements

The women dancers are dressed in black skirts and they dance and swirl just like a serpent does. The cloth on the upper body is called as the Angrakhi and the odhni on the head while the skirt is known as the lehenga. The clothes are mostly in the combination of black and red hues and have some beautiful embroidery which sooths the eye of the audiences.

The males play instruments on which the women dancers dance. The instruments are Pungi which is played to tame and capture snake. The others are Khanjari, Dafli, Dholak and Morchang.

Occasions for Sapera Dance

This dance form is generally seen performed on the streets of Rajasthan and also in fairs and festival occasions.

Kalbelia Tribe of Snake Charmers

These tribal peoples used to change their locations and hutments very frequently and were snake charmers by profession. Their dance movements, costumers are very similar to the resemblance of serpents. They can be found in largest number in Pali district. Shunned by the mainstream society, this tribe does all the work that was considered to be done by the lower castes. The men carry those snakes in jute baskets while the women dance and sing on the streets to earn a living.

After an am dement in the law, their main profession has been changed from snake catchers to dancers and performers. This tribe is very well versed with the different medicinal plants and herbs present in the environment. They move in deras and often repeat their locations with the passage of time. Now with the changing times, many also do farming and cattle grazing when they are not busy performing this dance form.

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