Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

Email

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

(Source: Karen Greenspan)

 

By Choki Wangmo | Kuensel

Bhutan has the reputation of being a ‘Shangri-La’ shrouded in mysticism and this has perhaps contributed to the rising number of visitors since the country opened its door to tourism in the early 1970s.

When Karen Greenspan, the New York City-based dance journalist first visited Bhutan in 2011, her aim was to experience the iconic Bhutanese Himalayas with ‘the least amount of altitude sickness.’

However, she found something more beautiful and intangible beckoning her instead. In fact, Karen felt and saw that ‘something’ almost immediately after Drukair touched down at the Paro International Airport.

Synopsis of the book

Karen Greenspan’s book - Footfalls from the land of happiness: A journey into the dances of Bhutan, delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image - festivals, Gross National Happiness, environmental issues, Buddhism, its culture and people.

 

Photo: Karen Greenspan

 

She has been to specific Bhutanese festivals for a close-up view of the dances and rituals as well as interviews with dance masters, Buddhist experts, and dance practitioners from both monastic and lay communities

The unfolding narrative flows with vivid dance prose, content-rich sidebars, and a multitude of color-drenched dance photographs, giving the fullest experience of the omnipresent culture of dance in Bhutan.

Humans, she says, are biologically wired to be moved to empathy and spiritual transformation by seeing something, particularly watching a dance. Thus, she ended up taking classes at the Royal Academy of Performing Arts.

For the Bhutanese, though, Footfalls from the land of happiness: A journey into the dances of Bhutan provides little beyond spurious reading.

Appraisal of the book

The book suffers from ‘too little’ of everything. Somewhere deep in the chapters of the book, Greenspan observes: “In Himalayan Buddhism, the chams (religious dances) are an essential element of ritual and ceremony used to express all that is sacred—welcoming, offering, appeasement, subjugation, liberation, power, victory, compassion, and many more.”

 

Source: Youtube/Druk Asia

 

Karen Greenspan could have avoided the banal and the bathos with some sincere look at the depth of Bhutanese dances and rituals. But perhaps that really was not the purpose of the book.

Yet there is still a lot to relish and immerse oneself in - Footfalls from the land of happiness: A journey into the dances of Bhutan, which was launched at the Taj Tashi on 4 October 2019. 

Nevertheless, it is still a good book for tourists for whom the snippets are more than enough by way of introduction to Bhutan and the Bhutanese. By and large, it is a book written by a foreigner for foreigners.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

The Passion Of 66 Year Old Tashi And His Last Dance At The...

The lead dancer, Champoen Tashi is a household name in Trongsa.

Dec 22, 2018 15:06

The Moving Mandala: Inside Bhutan's Sacred Dance Festivals

At the annual events, monks perform cham, choreographed rituals that serve as enlightening visualizations and honor the...

Dec 04, 2018 15:53

Be Thrilled By Adrenaline-Pumping Dance Moves At The Dochula...

The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival was initiated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo as a tribute to His...

Nov 20, 2018 17:05

Rare Masked Dances - One Of The Unique Features Of The Kholong...

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the...

Jul 03, 2018 14:44

359 Year Old Trashigang Dzong In Bhutan Ready To Be The Festive...

The preparations for the annual tshechu scheduled for 17 November began on 23 Oct 2018.

Oct 30, 2018 15:23

Tshechus (Festivals) In Bhutan Becoming A Platform For The...

"The impact will be a thousand times more powerful. When a spiritual figure conveys a social message in line with...

Sep 08, 2018 19:00

Latest

News

The Great Fourth King and Fifth King of Bhutan on Royal Tours amid the COVID-19 pandemic brought tears to many Bhutanese.

Many Bhutanese people eyes brimmed with tears. The heart was a knot of inexplicable emotions when they saw His Majesty the fourth King...

Oct 07, 2020 09:16

Australia supports Bhutan in its COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery

Extending support to Bhutan in its fight against COVID-19, the Australian Government has supplied medical equipment in response to the Royal...

Sep 22, 2020 09:39

Features

Ngultrum- The Bhutanese Currency but does Bhutanese address the money Nu or ?

Ngultrum is pegged at par with the Indian rupee. Ngultrum is the identity of the Bhutanese monetary system. But most Bhutanese refer to the...

Oct 23, 2020 16:00

Significance of the Stupa of two lovebirds across Lungtenzampa- the Bridge of Prophecy

According to the caretaker, many believe that couple who wishes to have children gets their wishes fulfilled if they pray at this sacred...

Oct 17, 2020 17:32

Sports

Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Business

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Are Local Vendors Earning More Money Than the Civil Servant?

A Farmer from Lango, Paro gave up farming to be vendor while office goers are switching into agriculture as the remedy to curb their...

Jul 27, 2020 19:15

Travel

Harvest Time in Bhutan- It is the happy time for peasants for the bountiful harvest

This time of the year, the lush green valleys and hills have turned into a mellow yellow field. Farmers are seen at their field to harvest...

Oct 26, 2020 12:52

Domestic Tourism to boost Local Economy in Bhutan

Although Bhutanese have not seen tourists for the last few months, locals are riding the bandwagon of being "tourists in one's own...

Oct 13, 2020 21:26

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!