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A Cultural Evening: NEPAL

Dances of Nepal change a little bit from landscape to another. Each domestic ethnic group has its special dress, a slight variation in the music and dance. Most of the folk dances will tell stories of everyday life in the village and local traditions: a young girl's search for love, marriage rituals, and dance of war, harvesting and more.

It is said that those dances originated on the Himalayas, the abode of Shiva, who is the patron of Tandava dance- the heart of Indian and Nepali dance, the maker and source of rhythm of the universe.

I met this charming dance in the lakeside of Pakhara.
This is an ever-quiet, always-welcoming city, on the east side of Phewa Tal, the lovely lake by the foothills of Annapurna region of the Himalayas. Here you can have a long rest or find many possibilities for exploring the heights of the mountains around.

On Lakeside Street you will find many shopping places: Tibetan crafts, Nepali music, tailors that will stitch a memory on a t-shirt of make a dress-to-order and more. Between them and bistros for international foods along side with Nepali cuisine restaurants. Those also offering a Nepali cultural evening.

 

Here is a selected e-mail from December 22nd, when the adventure were spanking new and a glance at "Royal Memorial Cultural Group" performance at Boomerang Restaurant, Lakeside, Pokhara:

Namaste!
Pokhara. A city with country atmosphere: Lakeside surrounded by green mountains and a breathtaking view of the Himalayan range of Annapurna (and beyond!).
I came to Pokhara on December 6th to relax from my long trek and to prepare for another one.
It was one evening that changed my plans....
Right next to the lake there is "boomerang restaurant" with a big sign announcing: "Nepali Folk Dance and music, every night 6:30-8:30". So I went there, to see what it was. ON the last dance the people are invited on stage to experience Nepali dance with the dancers. So I went on stage (how could I resist?). It was then when Navinson, the Dance director of the group, noticed how excited I am to dance there, Nepali style.
The next 3 days we met for a dance class. Navinson teached me one of his dances, helped me shop for a Nepali costume and to get the music.
The next night....I danced on stage, solo, with nepali dancers cheering at the back!!!
Then I left to kathmandu.
But it was too soon to leave
so I came back to pokhara after 3 days...
And here I am again, in Pokhara. Last night I was on stage again.
These days I am learning another Nepali dance from Navinson and that will give me another 4 minutes on stage.
Happy Holidays to all of you!

 

The program is two hours. The dances are variety of stories from the Nepali culture, with live music as escort and also to fill the gaps between dances. The last dance is shared with the audience: the dancers invite all the dining guests to go on stage and dance together.

  

Today there is a need to preserve the traditional dance forms*. Unfortunately, there is not enough enthusiasm and not enough funds to include folk dance in the schools' extra curricular activities. Watching a cultural show such as "Royal Memorial Cultural Group" is a good deed and a support in keeping this dance alive.

One contributor for this art of dance is Navinson Shrestha (on the percussion). In the morning he teaches Nepali dance in a local school in Pokhara, and then rushed to teach in a collage. He is also a dance director for filmmaking and has a lot of passion and information about Nepali dance.
To contact Navinson you can send a mail to:
navinson@hotmail.com or navson977@yahoo.com or just pop in to Boomerang restaurant in Pokhara

For Two weeks Navinson found eighty minutes, before the cultural evening, to teach me Nepali two folk dances. One of the dances, "Sunko Vauo Sumtala", is about the season of orange harvesting, when a girl selling those golden fruits and hoping that the next man to come for oranges is the one to build her future home, that will be full of happiness and rich like the golden oranges

The second dance is a teenager girl being in love. She is dressed so nice, with a wonderful blouse and a lovely shawl, ready for her lover to come. The recorded music is of a famous and much-loved Nepali singer, Kunti Muktan.


Until we meet again, the RMC group and I say "NAMASTE"!

* a link to a newspaper article

View Slide Show:

Nepal - Faces and Places

The Dazzling Himalayas  

Nepali Dance Workshops

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