Dance review: Tibetan Monks Sacred Music and Masked Dance
Dance review: Tibetan Monks Sacred Music and Masked Dance

Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: Tibetan Monks Sacred Music and Masked Dance, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Claire Smith ★★★ Not only a performance but also a religious happening, this is a rare and beautiful glimpse into an ancient world. The yellow hat monks of Tashi Lhunpo are followers of the Dalai Lama and also of …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: Tibetan Monks Sacred Music and Masked Dance, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Claire Smith

★★★

Not only a performance but also a religious happening, this is a rare and beautiful glimpse into an ancient world.

The yellow hat monks of Tashi Lhunpo are followers of the Dalai Lama and also of the Panchen Lama – imprisoned by the Chinese at the age of five and now missing.

Once part of a great monastery famed for its art, philosophy and music the Tashi Lhunpo monks are now based in southern India – but also travel the world celebrating Tibetan culture. The monks draw long sonorous sounds from long metal instruments, they ring tiny cymbals and play on pipes traditionally made from human thigh bones.

Dressed in thick brocades, they perform dances to pacify demons and enact an extract from Tibetan folklore which commemorates the assassination of a tyrannical king. They recreate a morning debating session, dancing around the stage in stylised philosophical combat.

Their prayers and practices are designed to remind us of death and impermanence, to remind us that our bodies are temporary and to cut through the illusion that we are separate independent beings. A western interpreter introduces each segment, carefully and skilfully explaining the meaning of each of the rituals.

And afterwards you walk out into the world feeling truly blessed.

Greenside@Royal Terrace Venue 231, until 22 August, 10:45am / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 20 August 2015

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