Rajasthan Trip: Tribal Dancing

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When I told my daughter Megan that we were going to Rajasthan, she was really excited. She is a Tribal Dancer in Eureka, a small city in Northern California. She is both a dancer, with frequent performances at various shows and festivals, and a teacher, with a small local school offering classes for both adults and children. (Here is her FB page: www.facebook.com/megz.madrone ) And, she tells me, Rajasthan is one of the sources of this dance, and the highly desired mirrored dance outfits worn by the dancers to ward off evil spirits (djinn).

So we decided we’d try to find her some antique mirror-ware. (The new stuff is made with plastic reflectors, and the workmanship is not nearly so complex.) I researched this and found out that Jaisalmer, an old desert city in the eastern corner of Rajasthan on the ancient trade route, is one of the best places to find this kind of work, and we were planning to go through there.

In Jaisalmer, we asked our guide, Raj, about this antique clothing, and he took us to what he said was the best place in the city. He was right about the place, and they showed us many wonderful clothing pieces, over chai, for an hour or so.

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The next night, when we stayed at a “Desert Tent” resort, outside of Oscian, we attended a dance program provided by the resort. We went out, not expecting much, and were treated with a real set of tribal musicians and a dancer.

Musicians.

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The dancer. Notice all the mirrors! She sure is safe from the djinn.

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I tried to shot a video of her with my small camera, and it turned out pretty good. (I had to boost the whiteness as far as I could, otherwise the fire-lit image is too dark.)

Tribal dance in Oscian, Rajasthan

Here is a photo of the dancer (and her son).

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We looked for this mirrored dance costuming in several more cities. This is what we brought home for Megan.

This is one of the better pieces.

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Here is a GPS plot that I made of the trip with my new tablet (with GPS). We started in Jaipur, and went anti-clockwise through the state.

Highlights were Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer,  Jodphur, Mt. Abu, Udaipur, and Pushkar (for the annual Camel Fair).

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It was such a great trip overall. I will be writing about it for the next several weeks, probably.

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2 Responses to “Rajasthan Trip: Tribal Dancing”

  1. Subbanarasu Divakaran Says:

    If Clarke had decided to stay in one of the villages in the desert state of Rajasthan where I lived for more than thirty years in Jodhpur he would have found immensely rewarding pieces of folk art, both textiles and dancing and music.

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