When Gods shall dance
KATHMANDU, AUG 03 -
Bhaktapur, the fabled city of the Gods, is a wonderful amalgam of religious and cultural traditions . The city chowks and lanes bespeak a vibrancy and energy that are impossible for anybody to miss. The sheer number of festivities, dances, songs and traditions indigenous and unique to Bhaktapur give it a distinct identity; one that is in many ways less influenced by the urbanisation and modernity that have taken over most of Kathmandu and Lalitpur.
The Bhaktapur Municipality is organising a Gai Jatra Mahotsav where more than an estimated 100 cultural dance troupes from the city will be performing at the Duttatreya Square on August 3. The dance groups have been divided into specific categories, based on the types of dance. Devi dance troupes for instance, will be competing amongst themselves for the top position and a cash prize worth Rs 25,000. Similarly, various Bhaila dance groups from all around Bhakatpur will be in competition with one another. There are a total of 22 dance categories in which participants will be performing.
Umesh Kawan, the programme co-ordinator says that the Bhaktapur Municipality is organising the dance competition with the aim of “protecting and promoting cultural dances.” Participating dance groups can enter the competition for free since the event’s main focus is to help transfer knowledge of these fast-disappearing dance forms from one generation to the next. Kawan is hopeful that the event, which will begin at 4 pm and will continue late into the night, will also prove an attractive fascination for tourists visiting the area.
As Damodar Suwal, information officer at Bhaktapur Municipality points out, tourist inflow at Bhaktapur increases by up to 60 percent during festivals, and hopes that this dance competition will add to their cultural experience of the city.
As the name itself clearly suggests, the dance competition has been organised on the occasion of Gai Jatra, a festival of mirth and merrymaking. The artists themselves are eagerly looking forward to perform on such a huge platform. As Ash Lal Awal, the co-ordinator of the Tuchimala Bhaila Dance group (one of the participating troupes) points out, “This competition is of huge significance to us as it helps us showcase cultural dance forms that are on the verge of extinction.”
Posted on: 2012-08-03 08:42