The main emphasis of the Tibetan Performing Arts classes is on empowering our youth on the skills of Tibetan songs and dances. Aside from being a mere artistic expression, Tibetan songs and dances represent people’s way of life in different regions and time period of Tibetan history. For our children here in Minnesota, the Tibetan Performing Arts has become a gateway to understanding other aspects of the Tibetan culture. Currently, we have five different groups of children at our weekend classes ranging from age 7 to 18. We have observed first hand that children’s participation in cultural performance improves their academic performance in schools, leading to successful graduation.
The Tibetan Traditional Cultural Performance has evolved into one of core activities of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota (TAFM). Over the years, it has grown from 30 students in the early 1990s to about 100 regular students today. They study Tibetan cultural songs and dance, and musical instruments every weekend at the Tibetan Culture center.
Our children’s skill and enthusiasm in the cultural songs and dance is so keen that it has become the highlight of our festivals and celebrations, especially during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s regular visits to the Twin Cities. Over the years, our children have performed at venues like the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, schools and colleges in Minnesota and outside cities of Madison, Chicago, New York and Seattle. The dance group is a regular feature at the Festival of Nations. TAFM Traditional Performing Arts won 2nd place at the 2008 North American Tibetan Associations’ Cultural Dance Competition held in July 2008 at Madison, Wisconsin.
One person who has worked so tirelessly over the years is Tenzin Ngawang. He has been our Tibetan Performing Arts teacher since 1996. He is a graduate of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), Dharamsala, India – the premiere exile institute entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and promoting Tibet’s unique tradition of performing arts. His teaching skills and close affinity with the children has created a strong enthusiasm in them. Without Tenzin Ngawang’s central role, we would not have accomplished Tibetan cultural performances of high standard.
Our ongoing efforts to preserve and promote cultural performances come at huge financial costs. All the costumes and instruments are custom made and imported from India. We are continually dependent on our Tibetan members and non-Tibetan friends for our ongoing operation. Our weekend song and dance classes are subsidized by the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota to encourage more participation. Parents pay partial fees.
We are in need of financial contribution in 3 key areas:
- To import costumes for the younger students from ages 7 to 12.
- To import musical Instruments from India.
- Storage facility for the costumes and instruments.
TAFM Cultural Committee Members:
Chair: Tenzin Tsering Phone: 612-388-5748
Instructors: Mr. Tashi Tsering
Chairperson Tashi zopa Phone: 769239528
Teacher Tashi Tsering Lak Phone: 5102690129
Tenzin Tsering Lak Phone:6123885748
Passang Tsering Lak Phone: 7635712348 7636394887
Lobsang Namru Lak Phone: 9528842174
Kalsang Phuntsok Lak Phone: 6132817619
Tenzin Choekyi Rangkor Lak Phone:6122448245
Tenzin Palkey Lak Phone: 6123559190
Tenzin Dadon Lak Phone: 6123885253 Thanks