Dramitse Nga Cham, Nyimalung Trenda: Chamjug, Rehearsal Day [Close shot]Additional title: Drum Dance of Dramitse
NamesCore of Culture (Organization) (Producer)Core of Culture (Organization) (Donor)
Bhutan Dance Project, Core of Culture
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2005
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 848B
TopicsDance -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- Bumthang (District)Bumthang (Bhutan : District)Festivals -- BhutanRitual and ceremonial dancing -- BhutanDrum dances -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesAdditional physical form: For wide shot version, see: *MGZIDF 848A.Content: Nyimalung Trenda in 2005, Day One: 15th/6/2005, Chamjug Rehearsal Day: Shinjey Phomo - Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort ; Shazam - Dance of the Four Stags ; Chipdril - Entry Procession ; Zhanag Cham - Dance of the Black Hats ; Durdag - Dance of the Four Lords of Charnel ; Dramitse Nga Cham.Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Nyimalung Dratsang, in Bumthang, Bhutan (ground floor camera: on raised dais to left of right-hand door; looking medially across arena), on June 15, 2005Acquisition: Gift; Core of Culture. NN-PD
Physical DescriptionBorn digitalExtent: 1 video file (74 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionDramitse Nga Cham/Drum Dance of Dramitse is perhaps the most famous dance in the entire country of Bhutan. The Dramitse Nga Cham dates back to the 15th Century, when Ani Chorten Zangmo, of Bumthang, was supposed to marry the son of the Chhokkor Deb. However, she refused to take this path, preferring instead to pursue a spiritual and contemplative life, and so she became a nun. Her uncle, the great Terton Pema Lingpa, gave her a white Conch shell and prophesied that her destiny would lie in that place where the Conch produced its most beautiful sound. The nun set off travelling to the South-east, beyond Kurtoe Aja (a place very sacred to the memory of Guru Rinpoche) until she came to a small Goenpa (or temple) called Dupchu Goenpa in a place that was called Bramitse (the hill where no one lives). On blowing the conch shell there, she produced a most pleasing musical sound, and decided that this would indeed be a favourable place to reside so she renamed the place Dramitse the hill free of enemies (Dra - Dzk. means enemy; Mi - Dzk. means No and Tse - Dzk. means hill). The younger brother of Ani Chorten Zangmo, Kunga Gyaltshen (also known as Kunga Nyingpo or Kunga Wangpo) was a learned Lama, who often visualised Guru Rinpoche in his meditations. Through his intense powers of concentration he was able to travel to Zangdo Pelrhi (the Glorious Copper-Coloured Mountain Paradise) which is the abode of Guru Rinpoche. There, on one such visit, the Lama was amazed to see the heavenly attendants of Guru Rinpoche transform themselves into one hundred wrathful and peaceful deities and perform an exquisite dance. In their left hand they held large drums, which they beat with drumsticks held in their right hands as they performed the intricate movements of the dance. The Lama understood that Guru Rinpoche's intention was to demonstrate to him how the medium of dance could be used to deliver very powerful messages to human beings and instruct them about the deeper mysteries of faith. When he returned to Dramitse he was able to compose a simulacrum of the dance he had seen, and he also worked into the composition elements of other drum dances revealed by other great tertons (treasure revealers) such as Sangye Lingpa and Ugyen Lingpa. This was the dance that was performed at the consecration of the Temple eventually built at Dramitse, a few hours walk from the original Dupchu Goenpa. The result was the establishment of the tradition of the Drum Dance of Dramitse, which was, for many centuries only ever performed in Dramitse, the place of its origin, in Mongar Dzongkhag. However, later in the twentieth Century, this famous dance began to spread around the country, as it became a much-favoured item and was introduced to many other religious festivals, as dancers from Dramitse carried it with them and taught it in other places. One of the effects of this rapid distribution was that the original dance which took some three hours to perform and was divided into 21 Sections was never performed in its entirety elsewhere and indeed different and shorter versions began to proliferate with steps and movements diverging from the original. The original version sees sixteen dancers wearing a variety of animal masks including an Owl, a Garuda, (Ja Chung) a Bear, a Leopard and the twelve animals of the Bhutanese horoscope. Each of the dancers carries a drum in his right hand, with the exception of the Champoen (dance leader) who carries a small pair of cymbals which provide timing clues to the other dancers. The original dance also included a fifteen-minute ceremony during which the local people would made offerings of the traditional khadar (white scarf) to the dancers. Core of Culture has so far not had the opportunity to witness the dance performed in Dramitse itself, and Core of Culture has so far not had the opportunity to witness the dance performed in Dramitse itself, and the many versions of the Dramitse Drum dance that have been recorded for this database are therefore performed by other groups. However, in early 2007, during a special meeting of the different Peling dance traditions organised by Core of Culture at the Yungdrung Choeling Dzong (a place sacred to the memory of Pema Lingpa) a group of eight dancers from Dramitse, who attended that convention, performed the whole of the original 21-Section version, for the first time ever away from the original courtyard of Dramitse. [There is a single recording of this dance within the Bhutan Dance Access database at BDA 649.7].
Nyimalung Trenda is held for three days on the 8th to the 10th day of the 5th Bhutanese month. The final blessing day coincides with the anniversary of the Birth of Guru Rinpoche. A Chamjug or rehearsal day is held on the 7th day of the Lunar month.
Type of ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersNYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19893896Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 2520b130-e509-0130-0f0f-3c075448cc4b
Copyright NoticeCore of Culture
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