Core of Culture Dance Preservation
Bhutan Dance Project
2004 - 2006
The years 2004, 2005 and 2006 were dedicated to expeditionary work
throughout the Kingdom of Bhutan.
A total of 24 months were spent on the ground in Bhutan.

Expedition Leader: Joseph Houseal
Technology Director/Cameraman: Jessie Horton
Director of Production in Bhutan/Cameraman: Karma Tshering
9 Production assistants, drivers and cooks.
Primary activities included
2-camera High-Definition documentation of dance festivals
Developing, teaching and applying preservation strategies
Formulating Dance Manuals and recording individual dances, step-by-step
Conducting methodological ethnographic observations
Creating a Bhutan Dance Database
What follows below in summary form are data from these activities
In every case, the data presented is conservative. In fact more was accomplished than listed here.
CoC has worked 23 Festivals at 15 Locations:
Chizhi Goenpa
Jambay Lhakhang
Nga Lhakhang
Yungdrung Choeling
This includes these types of festivals:
6 Tsechu
2 Drubchen
2 Kora
1 Yakchoe
1 Trenda
1 Phyala Choetpha
1 Mani
8 Drup
1 Rabnay

CoC has:
filmed 2-camera documentation of entire festivals at 15 places.
Managed 6 festivals at 3 places
Modeled local organization at 5 places
Documented with danced demonstration, 17 Chams Yig(dance manuals) at 2 places, Tamzhing and Thimphu
Translated 12 Chams Yig
Photographed 6 Chams Yig
CoC has commissioned:
1 essay (from Lam Pemala)
1 thangka (from Trongsa Khilkor Lopon)
31 carpets
1 Chams Yig (from Ngangbi Zhey dancers)
CoC has produced:
500 hours of High-definition footage
10,000 photographs
800 Database entries
11 Ethnographic notebooks
CoC has:
visited and made accounts of 7 healers, including late Je Khenpo Nizer Tulku, and a Village Oracle, the Bon Pawo Dorji who was also filmed.
CoC has worked with 5 communities in the Model Cham Program:
Nga Lhakgang
Jambay Lhakhang
CoC has conducted 5 community meetings with government officials, police, dance masters, dancers, and village organizers:
2 at Jambay Lhakhang
2 in the Model Cham Program
2 in Nabji
CoC has introduced:
Non-invasive production techniques at 15 festivals
Police at 3 festivals
Photography Bans for Naked Dances at 2 places
Festival Stewards who were also trained in LAMA CAM -
a camera fitted to a monk's mask
CoC has given:
4 computers
2 fully outfitted HDV cameras
1 still camera
1 round-the-world production training trip to Karma Tshering
1 full time job to Karma Tshering
6 part time jobs to PAs and cooks
CoC has provided:
4 Production workshops, 2 by Linda Burns. 1 by Amy Christenson, one by Houseal & Horton
1 cross-country technical scouting
CoC has brought in during the expedition period:
$73,500 ($60K from JRC; $10K from JQH; $2.5K from GY; $1K from MS)
CoC has donated:
$12,000 ($6K in consultant fees; $6K in gifts from JQH) this includes a tent and 2 courtyards
$7500 for 1/2 of a car
technical assistance to the Royal Academy Archive
CoC has set up:
1 apartment in Thimphu
1 Field Office in Bumthang
G5 editing suite in Chicago
7 terabyte RAID storage system in Chicago
and erected 2 CoC Sign Boards in Thimphu and Bumthang
CoC has built/produced:
Festival signage for 5 festivals (Thimphu, Ura, Tamzhing, Thangbi and Jambay Lhakhang)
Festival Programs for 3 festivals (Thimphu, Jambay Lhakhang, and Nga Lhakhang)
CoC has trained:
1 cameraman from Royal Academy
4 Production Assistants
9 festival stewards
1 professional performance troupe, Khuju Luyang, and arranged for their first paid professional performance series in Taiwan.
CoC has brought in:
9 Foreign Production Professionals (Joseph Houseal, Jessie Horton, Andrew Gordon, Linda Burns, Amy Christenson, Pat Morrow, Roger Vernon, Rupin Dang, Vikram Singh) for a total of 23 trips to Bhutan.
CoC has initiated:
1 piece of Legislation (Cham Protection Act)
2 tourist-restricted Dance Sanctuaries (Yungdrung Choeling, Nabji)
CoC has distributed:
400 2007 Calendars
700 CoC logo patches
31 carpets
CoC has restored:
Dorling Tercham (naked dance) of Jambay Lhakhang to its original setting and form
Peling Tercham (naked dance) of Korphu to its original form
CoC has interviewed on tape, transcribed and translated:
Aku Tongbi (91)
Chakhar Lam (78)
Dasho Sithel Dorji (73)
Ap Dorji (83) who was also documented demonstrating a lost Pesling dance, Bep Chadrup.
Lopon Dorji of Trashiyangtze
Lopon Lado of Buli
Karchi Omze (ritual dance leader-musician)
CoC has worked with these Religious Orders:
Drukpa Kagyu at 4 places (Thimphu, Punakha, Mongar, Trongsa)
Karma Kagyu at Thangbi
Sakya at Chizhi Goepa
Nyingma (traditions of Pema Lingpa, Dorji Lingpa, Woogpa Lingpa, Sangay Lingpa, Namkhai Nyingpo, Namkhai Samdrup)
CoC has worked with these Lay Orders:
Ura Gomchen
Thangbi Gomchen
Yungdrung Choeling Gomchen
2 places requesting GOMDEY: Ngangbi and Nabji
CoC has worked with these groups:
Zhey of Ngangbi (Dung Clan)
Pazaps of Punakha
Royal Academy Staff
Khuju Luyang Performance Troupe
CoC has worked with these villages:
Chakar Lhakhang
Yungdrung Choleing
CoC has responded to requests for assistance in the revival of 9 endangered dances:
Chamchen of Tamzhing
Chamchen of Nyimalung
Bep Chadrup of Pesling
2 Phurba Cham at Pesling
Nabji Tercham
3 Sakya dances at Chizhi Goenpa
CoC has made scouting trips to:
Dang Chu
Gong Phu
Gom Kora
Duntze Lhakhang
CoC has addressed:
all 20 Dzongkag Cultural Officers
CoC has received in-depth research assistance from:
Dasho Thinley Gyantsho, Director of the Royal Academy
Dorling Zimpi Khenpo Passang Tshering
Lam Pemala (Bhutan's foremost scholar)
Lopon Tengay (Scholar)
Lam Seten of Tamzhing (Abbott from Tibet 1960)
Lam Wangdi of Tsirang (fmr Dagchong ofthe Dratshang)
Lopon Sangay Tshering of Punakha (Top Monk Dancer)
Lopon Mindhu Tshering of Gasa (Mandala Master/Dancer)
Lopon Sonam Wangdi of Trongsa (Dance Master)
Trongsa Khilkor Lopon Sangay Rinchen (Mandala Master)
Lopon Sangay Yeshe of Yungdrung Choeling (Dance Master)
CoC has met and had serious conversations with these Reincarnated Masters:
HH Je Khenpo
Dudjom Rinpoche
Baba Tulku
Namkhai Nyingpo
Pesling Tulku
Bakula Rangdol Nyima Rinpoche
HH Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche
Gangtey TulkuSungtrul Rinpoche
Tukse Rinpoche
And these luminaries:
The Hermit Kitu
Chakar Lam Dorji
Chakar Lam Jr Tenzin
Nabji Lam Chimme
Lam Pemala
CoC made history as the FIRST EVER:
foreigners in Korphu
foreigners to see the Nabji Terchamto make any kind of record of the Nabji Tercham
foreigners to witness the Drukpa Kagyu Inner and Secret Dances, including the Khilkor Kora of the Thimphu Drubchen
foreigners to film the Thimphu Drubchen
foreigners to see and photograph the Thimphu Tsechu Gong Due Mandala
CoC Director Joseph Houseal was appointed by the Ministry and Home and Culture to the Coronation Entertainment Committee, and will be responsible for staging both Bhutanese and International dancers.
CoC has spent:
$271,717.86 in 2005 (included '04 work too and all original equipment)
$176,099.46 in 2006
$447,817.32 TOTAL since the project inception.
Joseph Houseal
Executive Director
Core of Culture
Dance Preservation
January 31, 2007