Zhey, Ngangbi Rabney: Day TwoAdditional title: Fifth 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 982
TopicsDance -- BhutanFolk dancing -- BhutanDance -- Religious aspects -- BuddhismRites & ceremonies -- BhutanDzongs -- Bhutan -- Bumthang (District)Bumthang (Bhutan : District)Festivals -- BhutanRitual and ceremonial dancing -- Bhutan
GenresFilmed danceFilmed performances
NotesBiographical/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 Two: Dec. 5, 2006: Beh - Martial Dances in front of the Deities temporarily installed for the festival ; Sachak Namchak (Shinjey with Yak masks) a special version of the ground-breaking dance using the very sacred Yak-headed masks carved by Namkha Samdrup ; Zhey, Pt. 1 first part of the long dance performed by the local Zheypa group ; Zhanag Cham - Black Hat dance performed by local dancers ; Zhey, Pt. 2 Second part and continuation of the Zhey dance ; Tshog Cham - Offering Dance ; Zhey, Pt. 3 continuation of the dance by the Zheypa ; Namkhai Samdrup Ngacham - The Drum Dance of Lama Namkha Samdrup ; Zhey, Pt. 4 - final section of the Zhey dances for the day it develops into the final exit procession of the relics back to the temple.Venue: Videotaped in performance at the Ngangbi Lhakhang, in Bumthang, Bhutan (first floor of the Lhakhang - looking back across the same diagonal as camera C), 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. 14 min.) : sound, color
DescriptionThe Zhey continue with another Part of their long, slow and hypnotic performance for the day. All together there are four separate dances done by this group during the day. Namgyel - son of Sherab-la, head of the house, said that they were four parts of the same dance - like different chapters in a book - if this be so, then it takes about two hours to perform the set. The Zhey sit by themselves in a special part of the arena, spend much of their time drinking chang, and perform all their dances acappella. At the end of the day, they return to a local village where they perform all the same dances again! 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): b19942805Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): bc0155c0-0821-0131-be81-3c075448cc4b
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