Dancing Kathmandu

Sangita, a dancer of Czech-Nepali origin, journeys to Kathmandu to explore how practitioners in the Himalayan Kingdom negotiate Nepal’s dance traditions in a period of rapid cultural change. In her attempts to map the current situation of dance in Kathmandu valley, she encounters her own teachers as well as younger dancers currently finding their way. Dancing Kathmandu tells stories of nostalgia, passion and survival through dance and dancers in the age of globalization. In Nepal, dancers are sometimes viewed with suspicion as they straddle the uncomfortable border between the sacred and the profane. On one hand, dance, as embodied sacred ritual still offers unique access to worship of Hindu and Buddhist deities. On the other hand, society often passes harsh judgment on spectacular dancing girls as women of “compromised character”. In this documentary, Kathmandu-based dancers of all genres speak about why they dance, why they persevere, and in some cases why they no longer perform in public. Through their artistic practice, the dancers struggle for cultural continuity.