Tibetans can almost all sing and dance. People who can talk can sing, and dance can be found anywhere there is a crowd. They sing and dance at festivals, weddings, get-togethers, and in their own time for any occasion. Tibetan dance and song are inseparable twins; if Tibetans sing, they will almost certainly dance as well, and they dance while singing. The history of Tibetan dancing spans over a thousand years. The “Xie” and “Zhuo” types of Tibetan dances can be distinguished. Among Tibetans, “Xie” is the most popular dancing style.
Tibetan Institute of Folk Music intends to conserve every fiber of Tibetan Culture through its Folk Dance and Music.
In Tibetan culture, there are two types of dances.
Folk dance and religious dance are the two styles of dances practiced in Tibet. Both have distinct features. The “Cham dance” is the most well-known religious dance. Cham is a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony that is very important. It takes place at Tibetan Buddhist festivals and is performed by monks dressed in various masks. Monks playing traditional Tibetan instruments accompany the Cham dance with music. The dance is a sort of prayer that invokes blessings and embodies moral instruction on compassion. It is also thought to change evil for the greater good of all.
In Tibetan, the word guoxie means “village.” It is a traditional Tibetan circle dance done by a group of people in rural locations. Men and women will dance hand in hand and sing in rotation on the open ground throughout the Guoxie performance. From sundown till sunrise, festival-goers sing and dance. Guoxie is believed to be Tibet’s most popular dance. This dance is performed by people all around the world, but the Shannan variation is the most well-known.
Tashi Sholpa was first performed in the Drepung monastery during the enthronement of the fifth Dalai Lama by the Shol Lhamo Tibetan Opera Troupe. The white Tibetan mask depicting the Thangtong Gyalpo will be worn by all performers with Tibetan folk music playing throughout. Wearing the Saint’s mask on key occasions is regarded as particularly auspicious because he lived for 140 years.
It is frequently the first dance performed at all important Tibetan cultural gatherings.
The Dance of Mysteries
The fourth is by far the most dynamic, as it includes dancing and unusual movement. The Mystery Dance is saved for the New Year festivals in February and March when Tibet joins to celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. The dancing and rapid-fire beats are intended to identify and scare away the demons of the previous year in both man and state, in order to kick off the New Year on a good note. Off-beat percussion instruments, flutes, stringed instruments, and loud singing combine to produce an exciting, frantic spectacle and experience for people viewing.
A stringed instrument that plays folk songs is used to accompany Xie. Xie is also known as “Ye” or “Kangxie” in Tibetan. It is popular in the Qinghai provinces of Batang, Qamdo, and Gyangze. Men and women dance the Xie side by side in two lines at festivals and picnics. They are usually led by a single individual who plays a stringed instrument at the front of the group.
The Tibetan Kangxie Dance, accompanied by stringed instruments, is a particularly unusual folk dance accompanied by folk music performed by both Tibetan men and women. Festivals, celebrations, and public gatherings are common places for this dance to be performed. In the Qinghai, Gyangze, Batang, and Qamdo regions, it is extremely popular. While the opposing sexes sing to one other, expressing their emotions, they dance in time to the music, gently waving their hands.
Since time immemorial, dances, particularly folk religious and sorcerer’s dance, have been immensely popular in Tibet. Almost every Tibetan can sing and dance, which is worth noting. Moreover, the majority of the dances are influenced by the natural world.
TIPA through its Institute of Folk Music intends to preserve the sanctity of Tibetan culture.