Khaita Performance at the British Museum, London

Khaita performance British Museum

All photos by Makoto Kawakami

The Faiths In Tune Interfaith Music Festival, part of a wider cooperation in the context of the British Museum’s exhibition “Living With Gods”,was held this year in the Museum’s stunning Queen Elizabeth II Great Court and it was a perfect venue for exploring interfaith music and dance.  The iconic venue was an outstanding backdrop, both visually and acoustically, for the music and dance performances that ranged from Hinduism and Judaism to Atheism and Sufism, and everything in between, including a performance by the International Dzogchen Community’s Khaita dancers.

Kathy Cullen, attending the event:

“When the Khaita dancers came out for their performance in the afternoon, I was struck by how much Khaita had developed up to this point, the costumes were lovelier and more elaborate than any I had seen before, more detailed. The movements of the dance were so well executed and harmonious, I immediately understood the years of dedication that have been given over to the learning and development of the dancers, and I also remembered all the evenings of Rinpoche’s patient presence and instruction, night after night. Watching the troupe sing and dance then, knowing all this background and that they had come to London from all over the world, I found it a very moving performance.”      

And the performance was well attended. There were maybe two hundred in the crowd at the museum, a mix of those who had come for the festival and those who happened by as they entered the museum.  But that was not all. The live streaming video of the performance from the Shang Shung UK Facebook page has now over 15,000 views and 160 shares, many of them by Tibetans, who left very positive comments and shared our Sangha’s pride at the increased visibility and appreciation of Tibetan culture through Khaita Joyful Dances.

Lena Dumcheva, Khaita team:

“This event is a milestone in realizing Rinpoche’s vision to introduce Khaita to the wider public. Performing at such a high profile venue will surely open many new opportunities for Khaita. It is Rinpoche’s wish that we present Khaita at prestigious venues and events, not only to support Tibetan culture but also to create an opportunity for others to come into contact with the precious Dzogchen Teachings through the bridge of Khaita Joyful Dances.

We had very positive feedback from those attending the event in person and via online streaming. Everyone seemed particularly impressed with the diversity of our group – 3 Italians, 2 Poles, 2 Russians, a Japanese, an Argentinian and a Spaniard all dancing together to Tibetan tunes! We are especially proud of our youngest dancer, Elia Bernardoni, only 13 year old and Khaita instructor since the age of 11. We admire Elia’s talent and dedication!

Khaita performance British Museum

International Khaita team (from left to right): Wojciech Torczyński, Urara Taoka, Nicola Cassano, Soledad Suarez, Elia Bernardoni, Svetlana Vajnine, Carles Jañez Brucet, Adriana Dal Borgo, Maciek Sikora, Lena Dumcheva

The festival organizers were also very happy with our performance and invited us to participate in next year’s Festival. We hope that in 2019, in addition to Khaita, we can also present Vajra Dance at the British Museum.

In our turn, we were truly impressed with the Festival organizer Anja Fahlenkamp, a mother of three, who is taking time off her regular job to run this Festival for seven consecutive years on a completely volunteer basis and free of charge for participants and audience. We were quite inspired by her vision of building bridges between people of different cultural and faith backgrounds through music and dance, and are very proud to have been part of the Festival. After our performance we presented Anja with a khatag as a token of our appreciation and to wish her all success in her admirable work.”

We would like to sincerely thank everyone involved in organizing this event: our dancers and our presenter Petra Zezulkova for their tireless dedication and financial support;Maciek Sikora UK Khaita coordinator; Shang Shung UK especially Julia Lawless; Lekdanling & the UK Dzogchen Community; Prima Mai and Lenka Tchernobay for putting us in contact with the Festival; the London hosting team especially Ewa Michalec, Premila Van Ommen, Trinley Walker, Peter White, Jowita Poniewska, Anita Selva and many others; our home team at Dzamling Gar especially Ludmila Kudriavtseva (Kislichecko) our choreographer, Pancho Company our music editor, Elena Kalistova, Stoffelina Verdonk, Nadia Yermakova, Fanni Gulácsi, Tomy Edgar, and many others who collaborated to make this possible – we are truly grateful to all of you. And, first and foremost, we would like to express our infinite gratitude to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and Rosa Namkhai.

Khaita performance British Museum

A very special thank you goes to all who supported this event financially both online and during the Mandarava Drubchen retreat at Dzamling Gar. Your support was essential to make this happen.  We hope that more and more people will support Khaita – together we can contribute in a concrete way to the preservation of Tibetan culture and its spiritual knowledge.

Photos on Khaita Facebook page here, more photos coming soon!

Provisional video here, professional video is now being edited and will be soon published on the Khaita YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Khaita in London UK:
– Weekend courses at Lekdanling 28-29 April; 8-9 September; 24-25 November;
– Weekly Khaita practice every Wednesday 6-7:30pm.