Sacred Dance Documentation in the Himalayas

A Journey Through the History and Culture of Himalayan Dance Traditions

A practical series presented by Core of Culture

With Professor Lindsay Gilmour (University of California at Irvine)  
and Joseph Houseal , director of Core of Culture


Special guests Newar Tantric priest Prajwal Vajracharya, wilderness specialist and cinematographer Nathan Whitmont, and Ladakhi cultural activist, Dr. Thinles Dorje.

SCHEDULE & FORMAT

Thursdays March 7, 14, 21 & 28

4pm Los Angeles | 6pm Chicago | 7pm New York

90 minute sessions live on Zoom
with additional self-paced video content

Check your time zone


PART ONE: ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTATIONS

PART TWO: MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

PART THREE: DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKING

PART FOUR: ART FILMS

Each of the four 90-minutes sessions will explore different approaches to the documentation of sacred traditions in the Himalayas, and reveal the evolution of fieldwork, dance research, and digital documentation over the past 25 years.

These rare and endangered dances are hundreds - even a thousand - years old, ranging across the spiritual landscape from Kashmir, through Zanskar and Ladakh, extending to Himachal and Arunachal Pradesh in India; and onto Nepal. Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, and Tibet. 

Seven days prior to each session, additional video content will be released for participants to view on their own time.  This content includes rare archival footage, documentary film, museum films, and selections from film festivals. 

Thursday structured dialogue among filmmakers and special guests will address content, context, research and production methods. 

All sessions will be recorded and all course content is available for reviewing for six months following enrollment in the course.

Video content is view only and not downloadable.




ABOUT CORE OF CULTURE:

Core of Culture educates the public, practitioners and scholars about disappearing cultural heritage. 
We are dedicated to safeguarding intangible world culture, and assisting the continuity of ancient dance tradition, and embodied spiritual practices where they originate, and beyond.

Course curriculum

(Expand each section to view details)

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • WELCOME! Course Schedule and Information

    • Classroom Etiquette and Technical Requirements

    • Navigating this Learning Platform

    • Navigating Online Learning Platform (PDF)

  • 2

    PART ONE VIDEO CONTENT (Available for Viewing from February 29)

    • Part One Video Content 1: Lamayuru, Sanctuary of Dance, 2001.

    • Part One Video Content 2: The Bhutan Dance Collection at the New York Public Library

  • 3

    PART ONE: LIVE SESSION

    • PART ONE (MARCH 7): VIDEO RECORDING

  • 4

    PART TWO VIDEO CONTENT (Available for Viewing from March 7)

    • Part Two Video Content 1: Three Museum Dance Videos

    • Part Two Video Content 2: Cham Quad-split

    • Part Two Video Content 3: Meditation in Motion, Footsteps to the Sublime: Visionary Dance in Buddhism

  • 5

    PART TWO: LIVE SESSION

    • PART TWO (MARCH 14): VIDEO RECORDING

  • 6

    PART THREE VIDEO CONTENT (Available for Viewing from March 14)

    • Part Three Video Content: Dance of the Dakinis

  • 7

    PART THREE: LIVE SESSION

    • PART THREE (MARCH 21): VIDEO RECORDING

  • 8

    PART FOUR VIDEO CONTENT (Available for Viewing from March 21)

    • Part Four Video Content 1: Ocean of Mudra

    • Part Four Video Content 2: Weight of the Moon and Heart of the Forest

  • 9

    PART FOUR: LIVE SESSION

    • MARCH 28: LIVE SESSION (ZOOM)

Instructors

Joseph Houseal

Joseph Houseal is founder and director of Core of Culture, a non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding intangible world heritage with an emphasis on endangered dance and movement traditions in the healing, meditation, and martial arts. After a decades long international career as a dancer, choreographer, and director, Houseal began working with ancient Asian dance traditions and has spent the past 25 years working in cultural preservation of sacred dance traditions in the Himalayas and beyond. Houseal has conducted 25 remote dance documentation expeditions in Asia, and has been Research Fellow at the New York Public Library, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Center, and has been a grantee of the Asian Cultural Council 5 times. Houseal was awarded the Banff Mountain Award in 2003, the first for a cultural project. In 2009, Conde Nast recognized Core of Culture’s work with the Global Vision Award for Cultural Preservation. His work has been shown in 14 museums worldwide and is part of 5 permanent museum collections. His writings on dance have been translated into Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian, and German. The Bhutan Dance Collection is the most widely accessed collection within the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library, for more than 11 years. A contributor to Ballet Review in New York, for 34 years, Houseal writes a monthly column for Buddhistdoor Global. His book, Buddhist Dances, Movement and Mind, will be published by Motilal Banarsidass, in 2024.

Lindsay Gilmour

Lindsay Gilmour is a performer, choreographer, filmmaker, and educator. Her work explores presence, ritual, and rebellion--fusing text, voice, and the moving body. She combines the mystical and absurd, both honoring and poking fun at the human condition. Her most recent works delve into embodying local landscapes and our need for wild untamed spaces exploring the interconnected and reciprocal relationship between body and earth through the Discipline of Authentic Movement. Her films, made in collaboration with cinematographer Nathan Whitmont, partner with diverse landscapes including desert, old grove forests, ocean, and suburban neighborhoods. The films have been screened both nationally and internationally, most recently at Dance Camera West in Los Angeles, Dance Camera Istanbul and In Shadow in Lisbon.  Lindsay is the recipient of a Nehru Fulbright Award for Academic and Professional Excellence (2018) and a Hellman Fellowship (2020-2021) in support of her research exploring the preservation, adaptation, and innovation of Ritual Dance in Vajrayana Buddhist Nunneries and Monasteries in India. She has made two films in India, Ocean of Mudra and Dance of the Dakinis and is currently editing a third. She is deeply interested in embodied knowledge and exploring what ancient dances might share with contemporary somatic movement practices. Lindsay is on the Board of Directors of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in India and is part of Core of Cultures research team dedicated to safeguarding intangible world culture and assisting the continuity of ancient dance traditions and embodied spiritual practices. She is an Assistant Professor of Dance at University of California Irvine

Registration