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February 1, 2015

30 Stunning Black and White Photos of Gypsy Dancers in Madrid in 1960

For centuries, Gypsies have been famous for their outstanding abilities in the arts, particularly dance and music. Although their origins and migration patterns remain somewhat unclear, historical accounts show that Gypsies first originated in Rajastan, northern India where they were called Rom, meaning “man.”

Over the centuries, Gypsies migrated out of India for various reasons including- wars, famine, and in search of work. Some of the first migrations of tribes leaving India recorded are in the 5th century A.D. The first tribes migrated west, through Afghanistan and Persia, and on the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean their paths divided. At the crossroads of Palestine, they split and some went north into Europe, while others went through Palestine into Egypt and North Africa.

Historical records show Spanish Gypsies coming from both Europe as well as from Morocco. Many of the famous Spanish Gypsies sing about their origins from Egypt. Having no real written history, the Gypsies have used music, dance, and puppetry to pass their stories on from generation to generation. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult to know any exact facts about their history, and it is more accurate to make speculations.

Below is a collection of 30 black and white photographs of gypsy dancers in 1960. All photographs were taken by LIFE photographer Loomis Dean in Madrid.

(Photos by Loomis Dean, via LIFE archives)


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