Tibetan Dance
Tibet is called the land of dance and songs. People from all walks of life dance and sing on almost every occasion, such as festivals, weddings, gatherings, and even their spare time. Nearly every Tibetan can dance and sing. For Tibetan, dance is a recreational activity. Tibetan dances mainly mixed with soothing sound songs are like bright stars that illuminate this broad and mysterious land. Tibetan are scattered in three central provinces in Tibet, and the areas inhabited by Tibetans boats a great diversity of folk songs and dances. From historical writings, we can find that folk religious and sorceress’ dances were prevalent in Tibet more than a thousand years ago. They influenced the wild bull dance, yak dance, deer dance, crane dance, peacock dance, sorcerers’ dance, drum dance, and other kinds of fold dances that have been handed down today. Generally, Tibetan dances fall into four groups; Folk dances, religious dances, royal dances, opera dances, etc. It all has its unique history and practice in a particular area based on the culture and tradition of the local area. Dance in Tibet was initially originated from the county side of the Yarlung Tsangpo River and the high regions of Shigatse and Ngari. In the mid-seventeenth century, the fifth Dalai Lama, to reinforce his rule by combining government with religion, stipulated that Sholton Festival be held in Lhasa from June to early July every year. Later Sholton Festival developed into the Tibetan drama festival.   Folk dances are mostly collective circular dances purely for recreational purposes, but some are performed for an audience. In most of the villages, Gorshie is a standard dance performed, and they dance in squares or in the fields. On special occasions or on a festive day, the villagers will place a jar of Chang (Tibetan homemade beer) on the ground and sing and dance around it. During the dance, men, and women, stand opposite each other and link hands or arms around them. The dance started with singing, and then the group began to dance to the call of ‘Shiu Shui shiu or ‘Chui Chui Chui under the guidance of a leader. Three steps together with a mutative move from the basic rhythm: men and women make louder or quicker sounds to increase the pace, and dancers take up the rhythm and end the dance by loudly stamping both feet. Gorchom is another type of popular folk dance in the villages. It is performed initially as a recreational dance around the home fire or kitchen area.  The style of dance varies a little between the farming, forest, and pastoral regions. Men and women form a circle in the framing areas and first sing and start a walking step. When the song is finished, with a chorus of Ya Ya, they begin their long sleeves and rapidly change the pace. The differences of this dance in other regions mainly depend upon the steps they follow. Duixie refers to the round dance popular in rural areas of Ngamring, Dingri, Lhaze, and Sagya counties on the upper reach o the Yarlung Tsangpo River. It also refers to the tap dance performed by urban people after the folk dance in the Dui area was introduced into Lhasa. Zhouxie, which means song and dance, is popular in Lhasa and rural Shannan areas as a group dance with oval waist drum. The leader of the dance, Zhuoben, wearing sheepskin and a mask, appears first. Holding dathar(colored arrows), he stands in the center to conduct the dance and drumbeat. They conclude the performance with a bow to the audience. Zhuoxie does not use any special musical instruments for accompaniment except for small bells fastened to the performer’s knees. Opera Dance, which is also called Ache Lhamo in Tibetan. It is translated as a fairy goddess.  Opera dance is originated in the 14th century and under the guidance of Yogi Thangtong Gyalpo, and since then, it has become famous all over Tibet.  During the magnificent Tibetan opera dance, a display of dancing usually follows each operatic performance. There are generally three kinds of dances here. One simulates various activities such as riding, shooting, boating, worshipping, and others, another is a direct import from the folk dances, and the third is fixed systematic movements of opera itself. Yak dance is a very splendid form of dance involved in Tibetan Opera. Royal Dances is another form of dance followed in Tibet. The Nangma was historically a famous dance, especially for the palace and aristocratic families. It has some essences from the music of the Chinese hinterland and dance from the regions south of the Yangtze River. The performance has both slow and rapid parts and has been developed into an excellent stage event.  Gar, also called joyful dance for clouds, is another kind of royal dance performed by Garpa (the boys from Gar, Ngari). The hierarchy used it to eliminate evil and bless and praise political and religious affairs. The dance benefits significantly from the assist musical instruments, postures, and costumes from the inner land of China's historically well-known west region. Religious dance Qamo in Tibet came into being during the confrontation of Buddhism and the local Bonpo religion. Spiritual dance is to subdue the evil spirits in monasteries by giving the local Tibetans dances Buddhist interpretations. According to Chronicles of Tibetan Kings, various kinds of animal-mime dances, divine-instrument dances, drum dances, and flower-offering ceremonial dances appeared during the reign of Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century. Shinze Dance is spread widely in Chamdo and other areas of Tibetan situated like Qinghai, Yunan, and Batang of Sichuan Province.  The dance is led by a man holding a horn fiddle. Along with his playing, the whole line is continuously changing its form while singing and dancing. The posture mainly imitates another immortal bird, the peacock. The traditional double dance Peacock Drinks Water exudes the wishes for good fortune and happiness of the Tibetans. A drum dance is the most splendid kind of dance for the audience to enjoy, the most impressive among is the large drum dance, also called Choshio or Harvest festival. Repa is an all-around performance that integrates a bell and drum dance, many operas, folk songs, and dances. It was created by a Tibetan saint Milarepa and is popular in Chamdo, Nyingchi, and other Tibetan inhabited regions of Sichuan and Yunan Provinces. The performers, also called Repa, are mainly wandering actors. Tibetan dance is an essential part of Tibetan life, and it will be differing from region to region. And also, it has the influence of modern civilization on traditional dance. Tibetan dance is popular worldwide with mixed tradition and modern tradition, which give a vital essence of the culture. Tibetans enjoy singing, Karaoke is popular, workers often sing when they work, and the festival is full of singing and dancing.  


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