Bhutanese Dance in New Hampshire

Bhutanese girls dance a story about friendship

“Traditional arts are artistic activities such as music, dance, and crafts that are passed down from one generation to the next within families and communities and are regarded by the community as part of their heritage.” This is how the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts describes their Heritage & Traditional Arts Program. This fall I will begin a project to help to identify master dancers in New Hampshire’s Bhutanese community that the Arts Council can add to their roster of traditional artists.  I first saw traditional dance when I worked with New Hampshire Humanities to produce a folktale told by Hari Tiwari, an adult ESOL student in Laconia.  To celebrate the book’s publication,  we had a big festival on Manchester’s west side where many people from Bhutan have made their homes. I was fascinated by a dance performed by young girls and choreographed by a master dancer.  This is the man I seek to find, the master dancer!  I want to hear the story of dance from his point of view and I want to record him and photograph the dance! I have heard that young dancers are creating new forms, combining traditional dance with Bollywood styles.  I’m on a quest to find out how dance changes with time and when dancers leave their homeland. This also helps with my current research for a book.

Here’s the story of the festival where we celebrated the folktale we published in Nepali and English, The Story of a Pumpkin.

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