Nepal // Festivals //

Dance and culture shows


Nepali music is inseparable from dance, especially at festivals. Nepali dance is an unaffected folk art – neither wildly athletic nor subtle, it depicts everyday activities such as work and courtship. Each region and ethnic group has its own traditions, and during your travels you should get a chance to join a local hoedown or two, if not a full-blown festival extravaganza. Look out, too, for the stick dance of the lowland Tharus, performed regularly at lodges around Chitwan National Park. Staged culture shows in Kathmandu and Pokhara are a long way from the real thing, but they do provide a taste of folk and religious dances. Most troupes perform such standards as the dance of the jhankri (shaman-exorcists still consulted by many hill-dwelling Nepalis); the sleeve-twirling dance of the Sherpas; the flirting dance of the hill-dwelling Tamangs; perhaps a formal priestly dance, to the accompaniment of a classical raga (musical piece); and at least one of the dances of the Kathmandu Valley’s Newars.

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