Music deep on mountain high
ARTS FESTIVAL: DANCE Tibetan Song and Dance Troupe. Cultural Centre. February 18-21.
JUST about all aspects of life in Tibet are affected by an intense preoccupation of Tibetan people with religion. It was hardly surprising, then, to find that a major item in the programme of the Tibetan Song and Dance Troupe was based on a ceremony that first took place almost 600 years ago in Lhasa's Jokhang Temple. A procession of cymbals and drums through the Grand Theatre's auditorium to the stage suggested Buddhist monks' cross-country pilgrimage to attend the first Grand Prayer Ceremony. The music was varied - at times merely the faintest sound to convey the quietness of dawn. At others, the instruments burst forth at full volume to scare off evil spirits and misfortune. But the folk dancers were the highlight of the evening. The steps and the patterns created by the Women's Ensemble Dance from Ali, western Tibet, were simple, yet the joy with which the dancers performed made it exhilarating. Even so, parts of the show were of limited appeal. Only a few people may enjoyed the whole thing.