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

USD 25.3m Green Climate Fund To Address Climate Change Adaption In Bhutan

The project can help address climate change adaptation challenges facing Bhutan, particularly in the agriculture sector.

Jan 15, 2020 16:28

Bhutan’s Target To Become A 100% Organic Nation By 2020 Delayed – Pushed To 2035

Efforts to translate Bhutan’s organic vision into reality has met with various challenges thus far.

Jan 04, 2020 23:28

Features

Losar Tashi Delek - How The Bhutanese Celebrate The Year Of The Male Iron Rat

According to the Bhutanese calendar, Losar falls on 25-26 January this year.

Jan 26, 2020 18:28

Enduring Values From The Tale Of The Four Harmonious Friends

A parable steeped in Buddhism, the didactic tale of the four harmonious friends is regarded as the national folklore of Bhutan.

Jan 23, 2020 17:58

Sports

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

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

Economic Roadmap Needed To Steer Bhutan Towards Higher GDP Growth

The Lyonchhen said that the economic figures will improve in 2020 as 70 percent of the capital investments still lie unused.

Jan 17, 2020 23:38

Celebrating Bhutan’s entrepreneurs: Tashi Wangdi of iHub

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Jan 12, 2020 23:38

Travel

Forging the Unbeaten Trail Towards Wangdue Nye

When you dedicate year 2020 to hike on unbeaten trails in Bhutan.

Jan 21, 2020 10:58

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08

Lifestyle

Bhutan- The Wedding Destination in Asia

Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom, is a landlocked country located between China and India. With its reputation for mystery and magic, stunning...

Jan 23, 2020 09:07

Relish Your Taste Buds With 8 Delectable Bhutanese Staple Food

One of the best places to try authentic Bhutanese cuisine is through a homestay, where you will get to sample what most locals eat at home.

Jan 19, 2020 21:08

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!