An interview with Adriana Dal Borgo about the Educational Program of the Khaita Dance School with Tamara Kozhukharova, May 10, 2021.
Tamara Kozhukharova: Please tell us more about the objective or purpose of the Educational Program of the Khaita School.
Adriana Dal Borgo: Khaita is one of the last gifts that Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gave us and shows us how to apply the Dzogchen teaching in a concrete way. If you think about how much time and energy Rinpoche dedicated to developing it in the last part of his life, it is clear that Khaita is a teaching.
The aims of the Educational Program are to honor Rinpoche’s work and to communicate its content. Khaita is not just about singing and dancing; there is much more behind it.
TK: Why does the training take three years and not several months?
ADB: Khaita is like a diamond: it is a precious jewel with many facets. In order to appreciate and understand the different aspects, I think it is important to dedicate some time. In three years, we can create motivation and understand that it is not just about learning steps which can be easily done by following a course or watching a video. It is important to understand what is behind that, what Rinpoche’s intention was. I was very fortunate to be traveling with the Master when he started working on Khaita, from the very first moment, and thanks to this, I realize how important all this was. For me, three years is a good period of time because the program is quite complex.
Another objective of the program is to prepare new instructors and this requires deeper preparation and a method and we need to develop skills. If you consider, for example, the Vajra Dance – to become an instructor, first of all you have to learn all the dances, this is the basis, then participate in what we called Teacher Training, and then there are the supervisions. It is a process that requires the time necessary for a person to mature their practice, motivation and the ability to teach. At times it takes even longer than three years.
It would be very useful to bring the Joyful Khaita Dances to the schools as part of the education programs. Movement, dance, sound, and rhythm, are very important and favor the harmonious psycho-physical development of the child. Working with rhythm teaches us to understand how to work with circumstances. Then there is the coordination of the body which helps with socialization and working in a group.
During the Educational Program, a space will be dedicated to learning basic notions of developmental psychology and some techniques for teaching children. This does not mean that after three years we will be experts in this. The idea is to touch on some aspects and open up in this direction, then if someone is interested, they can deepen their knowledge. The idea is to create a base from which it is possible to develop. Khaita can be applied, for instance, in the training of managers and coaches as is happening now in Poland. There are many possibilities.
TK: Yes. I think we can say that Khaita is a method for training soft skills in the corporate environment. It could be one of the methods.
Who will be able to participate in this Khaita educational program?
ADB: I ask that people have attended at least one basic course and also anyone who wants to deepen and understand a little better the various aspects of Khaita. It would also be useful for instructors. As instructors I believe we should have a common knowledge and language. For example, Rinpoche gave precise indications on how to indicate movements and steps. For instance, what we call the “basic step”, we don’t call the “Tibetan step”. A very simple example is that we should all go in the same direction. Or, the way of counting: we work with movement, with music and it is very important when we explain, to count clearly in order to understand the rhythm. At the moment we are improvising a bit and we all do things in a different way, but there are systems, keys that have been created over the centuries by musicians. We will study this too, to create a foundation of music education and then it will be much easier for all of us to teach.
TK: Yes we should have a common professional terminology.
ADB: All instructors are welcome to participate to build this together. The other aspect is that the Educational Project is also a direction for the future. If some instructors are interested, we can work together to carry it forward. I would be happy to collaborate in this.
TK: But other people can participate as well, as you said, if they have basic knowledge from a Khaita course or they have trained a little. Is that correct?
ADB: Yes, of course. It is possible to participate simply to deepen one’s knowledge of Khaita and, if there is interest, to become an instructor. At the end of the third year an exam will be held.
TK: Is it possible to participate in only part of the program?
ADB: Yes, people can take only some of the courses. There are also workshops where we will work with some specific aspects. For example, this summer there will be a workshop with a professional to train our voice while we move.
TK Will it be possible to participate remotely, not only in this current course but throughout the Educational Program?
ADB: Yes it will be possible due to the circumstances since with the pandemic it is still not easy to travel and meet. Khaita online, however, is a different thing. The joy comes from dancing together but in this moment circumstances are not easy so I think it is important to start anyway.
TK: Is there any financial help available for participants to participate in this program?
ADB: Yes, we have created a scholarship program to make participation possible even for those with financial difficulties. When there is good motivation and the desire to dedicate time and energy, the economic aspect should not be a problem. There will also be some help for instructors.
TK: How do people contact the school? Is there a website?
ADB: You can find information on the web page, khaita.org. To register for the first course that will take place in Merigar, West you can register directly through the Merigar web page, under courses and events. Or you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TK: Thank you Adriana, it’s very inspiring just to hear all this information.
ADB: Thank you.