The 'Kelas' are a nomadic class of people in Orissa.
Except for a few months in the year they mostly remain out of their homes.
Originally they are snake charmers and bird-catchers, who roam about the
countryside to earn their livelihood. Besides, they also display tightrope
walking and other varieties of gymnastic events along with dance and
In the dance only two persons take part, a 'Kela' and 'Keluni' (a female of the tribe). The Kela plays a peculiar string instrument Ghuduki, which produces a peculiar sound. He works out rhythms by playing his fingers in strokes on a string. He dances with the Keluni and also sings.
The dance of the Keluni is fast with swaying movements of legs, hips and the head. There are also exalted actions in half-sitting position. Generally, it is she who carries the show. The songs are of a special variety and are popularly known as 'Kela-Keluni Geeta' in which love and humour predominate. This dance is fast dying out, but professional 'Yatra' troupes and other groups of entertainers are adopting it.