The dancers we saw in Rajasthan were entertainers. Incredibly skilful and glamorous, they danced in the traditional costumes of their regions, sometimes balancing pots or lights on their heads, sometimes playing instruments and often beckoning onlookers in to the dance.
Dancers in Bhutan were fulfilling a ceremonial and sacred role, maintaining balance and order in their communities. Once a year a dzong or important village may hold a religious festival. Villagers from the surrounding district come for several days of religious observances and socializing while contributing auspicious offerings to the lama or monastery of the festival. The central activity is a fixed set of religious mask dances, or cham, held in a large courtyard. Each individual dance takes up to several hours to complete and the entire set may last two to four days. Observation of the dances directly blesses the audience and also serves to transmit principles of Tantric Buddhism to the villagers.
On the night of the Full Moon a group of beautiful women were attending a Joy of Being retreat here at Dadirri. Most had brought jingly belts, veils, scarves and belly dancing gear … so after dinner the fun started. Warm-ups around the outdoor fire got us started, then an attempt at coordination resulted in lots of fun, laughter and exercise!
Are you in a dancing mood? Join Ailsa to see some more rhythmic action 🙂