Zhey, Ngangbi Rabney: Day Three, Final Day [Close shot]Additional title: First Zhey Dance
NamesCore of Culture (Organization) (Producer)Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)
Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2006
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 985B
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- Bumthang (District)Bumthang (Bhutan : District)Festivals -- BhutanRitual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesAdditional physical form: For wide shot version, see: *MGZIDF 985A.Biographical/historical: This is the second year that we have documented the Ngangbi dances (2005 & 2006). The courtyard has been improved, expanded and flattened so as to get rid of the very noticeable slope of previous times. The cameras are in much the same positions as before, but there is now more space for spectators. The arena was roped off. The documentation concentrated mainly on the Zhey dances and did not shoot many of the intermediate masked dances and boedra. A new lama has been appointed (the ex-Champoen at Trongsa Dzong) and he introduced for the first time an external dance - a five-man version of Zhanag (with masks) using monks from Chakar. This, too, was not recorded - though the execution was good.Content: Ngangbi Rabney/Ngangbi Ramnyen, Day Three: Dec. 6, 2006: Zhey, Pt. 1 first part of the long dance performed by the local Zheypa group ; Zhauli Cham (Nyulemai Cham) - The Dance of the Evil Spirit ; Sampa Ngacham Mangcham - Drum dance of all attendant spirits ; Zhey: Jyui Lam Dam a particular dance in which the Zheypa link arms and pass under each other to form a close-knit group ; Pholey Moley - The Dance of the Noblemen and their Ladies ; Zhey: Hiyo - another particular dance that sees the Zheypa leaning alternately to right and left in a line with the Zheypon spinning by himself in front of them ; Khandumai Cham - The Dance of the Dakinis ; Zhey: The final dance of the Zheypa for the day.Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Ngangbi Lhakhang, in Bumthang, Bhutan (courtyard baseline looking along left diagonal towards the Lhakhang), on Dec. 5, 2006.Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PDBiographical/historical: The Nganbi Ramnyen is a remarkably well-run and well preserved festival which is organised amongst 8 different villages in the Chhoekhor vallery. The Festival takes place at the Ngangbi Lhkakhang which is next door to the Noble house presided over by descendants of Lam Namkha Samdrup. The set of Zhey (Nobleman Families) dances is a remarkable survival from the time of the Zhabdrung and this variant is particular to the place. The dating of the festival is not fixed to a particular month or date but depends upon the timing of an astronomical event - as is also true at Namkha Lhakang (just over the hill from Nganbi) another temple established by Namkha Samdrup. Other particular parts to the festival include: The reading of the Tam (Jambay Lekshey) to representatives of each household - a set of dos and don ts for the participants in the festival (Do be courteous to others during the festival; Don t get drunk and fight during the festival; Don t put a big penis in a small vagina! etc. ) An evening meal for the Zhey and other participants in the festival in which ancestral food which includes cooked cow hide is served to all. The Hung Hung La dance is the last item on the festival list, and takes place throughout the evening of the last day. The Gathpo, Ganmo and Botsa atsaras go around all the local houses, giving auspicious blessings and cracking lewd jokes until dawn the next day.Biographical/historical: Ngangbi Ramnyen is held for three days from the 15th to the 17th days of the 10th Bhutanese month. A Chamjug or rehearsal day is held the day before. This information is generally correct, however, the timing of this particular tsechu is moved to coincide with a precise astronomical event, hence the dates may move either forwards or backwards.
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (ca. 37 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionThey were a series of bravura spinning exits for this performance. The word Zhey is a Tibetan term which refers to both song and dance together. The story is told of the Founder of the Drukpa Kagyu sect, Tshangpa Jarey, who wanted to build a Drukpa temple, but discovered a demon (in the form of a tortoise) who was frustrating and destroying the work. He created a song/dance - known as Choe Zhey, in which he claimed to be the son of Pelden Drukpa - and therefore unbeatable - and the performance of this song vanquished the demon tortoise, allowing the temple to be properly completed. Historically this is the first example of a Zhey. In Bhutan the first recorded example of Zhey is linked to the arrival in 1616, of the Zhabdrung, Ngawang Namgyel, as he escaped from Tibet and moved south to set up his own Drukpa school there. Arriving in the northern region of Gasa (adjoining Tibet) he was met and welcomed by the local people, who performed Zhey as a tribute song to the exalted lama. This first performance in Gasa, known as Goen Zhey (after a region called Goen) stands as the origin of all other regional variations in Bhutan. Other places where particular variants are performed include Wang Zhey (Thimphu); Wachupi Zhey (Paro); Nubi Zhey (Trongsa) (which four examples are taught as part of the RAPA syllabus - cf. Zhey Rup - the History of Zhey [Dzongkha publication], publ. RAPA). Other forms of Zhey continue to the present, including the Zhey dances of Ngangbi,(Bumthang) Kabjisa Zhey (Punakha) etc. whereas several forms of Zhey are no longer remembered or performed - Do Zhey (Paro) Kawang Zhey (Thimphu) etc. Zhey dancers wear special head-gear - a form of wreath - known as Thoe, which symbolises that the dancer is no ordinary person, but is a mahasiddi or a mystic who has developed special powers. Each group tends to have different colours of Thoe, and these colours have various meanings.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19942818Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): ba89ae50-0821-0131-65d9-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
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