Ancient Dances

As a religious, philosophical, and ritual expression, dance has an important role in the practice of Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and other Asian belief systems. Long unbroken transmissions of movement forms are reflected in religious artistic depictions, where performative iconography is mystical code as well as movement illustration.

In his column  Ancient Dances, Joseph Houseal looks at the aspects of dance and spirituality to enhance practice and appreciation among readers, and to raise cultural awareness in our changing world. He uses dance as a lens to explore states of consciousness and symbolic representations.

Ancient Dances is published monthly.

Beauty and Memory

It is a choice to remember life in beautiful ways. Dance is an art made of life itself. The human body as medium contains within

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Self-Expression of the No-Self

Meditation is like dancing inasmuch as the experience is entirely individual. The body becomes the laboratory for energetic exercises, and the embodiment of prescribed shapes.

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Following Ancient Traces

After seeing several Cham festivals in remote places on a 2014 trip to Ladakh and neighboring Zanskar, I came to the conclusion that video-documenting Cham

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Fifteen Good Years

I first traveled to Ladakh in the western Himalaya 15 years ago, after being invited by a lama I met on the beach in front

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Dancers in High Places

The dancing mind is another mind. In Vajrayana Buddhist Cham, dance is yoga, the dancing mind the whole point—the center of the experience. Monk-dancers are

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A Concern for Beauty

The earthquakes in Nepal were not merely geological—some of humanity’s oldest symbols got jumbled and tumbled. Mount Everest and the Kathmandu Valley have been wonders

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