The Faiths In Tune Interfaith Music Festival was held this year in the stunning Queen Elizabeth II Great Court of the British Museum and it was a perfect venue for exploring interfaith music and dance. The iconic venue was an outstanding backdrop, both visually and acoustically, for the music and dance performances that ranged from Alevism and Animism to Sikhism and Vaisnavism, and everything in between, including a performance by the International Dzogchen Community’s Khaita dancers.
When the Khaita dancers came out for their performance in the afternoon, I was struck by how much Khaita had developed up to this point, the costumes were lovelier and more elaborate than any I had seen before, more detailed. The movements of the dance were so well executed and harmonious, I immediately understood the years of dedication that have been given over to the learning and development of the dancers, and I also remembered all the evenings of Rinpoche’s patient presence and instruction, night after night. Watching the troupe sing and dance then, knowing all this background and that they had come to London from all over the world, I found it a very moving performance.
The performance was well attended, there were maybe two hundred in the crowd, a mix of those who had come for the festival and those who happened by as they entered the museum. But that was not all. Premila Van Ommen, who livestreamed the performance on facebook for The Shang Shung Institute of Tibetan Studies in London, had 14,500 views and 175 shares, many of them by Tibetans, who I think share our Sangha’s pride at the increased visibility of Tibetan song and dance through Khaita Joyful Dances.
So, thank you to all the people who made this possible to enjoy, from the organiser of the Faiths In Tune Festival, Anja Fahlenkamp, to Lena Dumcheva who applied on behalf of Khaita to participate, to Julia Lawless and everyone at Shang Shung UK who helped raise funds to sponsor the event and found accommodation for the dancers and filmed and livestreamed, to Ewa Michaelec, who dedicated four days to cooking for the troupe while they were in London, to Maciek Sikora, who along with Lena, dedicates many weekends and one night a week to the development of Khaita here in London, and finally, the biggest thanks of all to Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and the dedicated Khaita teachers and dancers who came here: Adriana Dal Borgo, Nicola Cassano, Soledad Suarez, Lena Dumcheva, Maciek Sikora, and all the others.
The next Khaita: Tibetan Circle Dances weekend in London with Lena Dumcheva is 28-29 April 2018. The weekend is open for anyone to join, with the first day more dedicated to beginners while the second day will be slightly more ‘advanced’.
This is a link to videos of the event: