Monday, August 2, 2010
Intangible Cultural Heritage
I figure that while I am in Nepal I should really make an effort to do and try as much as I can, so when my host mother suggested that I accompany her when she went to her aerobic dance class I couldn’t think of a good enough reason to say no. I accepted her invitation not knowing exactly what sort of commitment I was making. Our initial conversation happened over my morning cup of Nescafe and when I returned home that evening I was presented with a pair of purple Nepali dance slippers. While I know that they weren’t a huge investment of money, I did get the feeling that I was somehow already involved in something more than I had anticipated. Once you get gear it usually means more than a one time affair, and I can’t help but think that this point was not lost on her either. As it turns out the class meets 6 days a week, and unless I have other pressing things to do at 6:30am I now know where I will be spending almost every morning during my time in Nepal - in an overheated “dance studio” in Kathmandu with a dance teacher so small I could fit her in the palm of my hand, my 58 year old host mother in trousers and kurti, and a twenty-something guy who is, according to my host mother, the team leader. Based on his overwhelming enthusiasm for The Dance I can see why he was appointed to this role. The past two mornings we have walked into the room to find him thoroughly engaged with his reflection in the tall mirrors as he practices rolling his entire body while maintaining eye contact with himself. And his high kicks are something to behold; what they lack in control they make up for in gumption. Very reminiscent of the way Shelley Long and her scouts do the Freddie in the 1989 classic film Troop Beverly Hills.