A dying dance culture revived in Relnang village

Villagers from Relnang in Luari gewog, Samdrupjongkhar are trying to revive the art of a traditional mask dance, which began to die six years ago. Relnang is a village that is an hour’s walk from Jompa, Lauri’s  gewog centre. The village’s annual tshechu started some time in 1980, after the completion of the Thekchog Ugyen Tshering goenpa by Lama Tsarigpa. Despite having 50 villagers, the gewog has been facing shortage of dancers. In 2008, after seeing the dying culture, some Relnangpas working in urban areas, mostly from Thimphu, including senior civil servants, students and corporate employees, came together to revive the dance. They contributed for the masks and costumes besides taking part in the dance itself and it has worked. The three-day tshechu also features other mask dances like Pacham, Zhana cham, Peling Ginsum, Dramatsi ngacham, Durdha, Bardo cham, Shinjey pho mo, Ging tshogling, Chungzam, Shazam and Pholay Molay. The masks were bought from Trashigang and Mongar.

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