Young Tibetans embrace hip-hop dance
A graduate of the China University of Geosciences, Namkha Wangchen currently works as a geology teacher at Tibet University.
“I like hip-hop, it gives me pleasure in life, and I have learned much from dancing to it,” he said.
The 30-year-old used to dance in the ancient Barkor Street area of Lhasa in the past, but now he is more likely to be seen on stages and in bars.
“In the past, many Tibetans did not like hiphop, they considered it a break from the traditional Tibetan dances, but today, more and more Tibetans are changing their minds,” he said.
“With hip-hop in my life, I have learned how to make more friends.”
According to the group, the majority of hip-hop fans in Lhasa are students, but they also include e office workers and young entrepreneurs.
To cater to the booming demand, TNT hosts classes during the summer and winter vacations.
Jampal Wangdan, the crew’s second in command,
said hip- hiphop dancing turned his life around, as he used to be with the wrong crowd.
“We have tried really hard over the past 10 years and although we’ve not always succeeded, we’ve gained much in return,” he said.
“Many of the older danc- dancers have helped to promote and spread the culture, and it has attracted the younger generation like us to join in. It’s grown from being a crew to become a family.”
Dekyi Pedron, 24, joined TNT a year ago, but said she has liked hip-hop since she was in middle school.
“I like both hip-hop and jazz, and I find joy in dancing. It helps me to stay healthy,” she said.
TNT is one of the most influential dance crews in Lhasa — many of its members have been accredited as teachers by the State General Administration of Sports and have professional dance qualifications.
In recent years, the crew has scooped several awards, both regionally and in other provinces.
Choedrak, a 24-year-old college student and TNT member, has been hip-hop dancing for seven years.
“At first I thought it was all about the fashion and feeling cool, but gradually I realized there was more to it than that, and now I feel like dancing whenever I see a stereo or spot my reflection in a window,” he said.
His parents were against him dancing at first, he said.
“But today they no longer try to stop me. They have accepted that it’s my choice and they know it’s good for my health.”
Namkha Wangchen, xgeology teacher at Tibet University Clockwise from top: Members of TNT practice hip-hop in a studio in Lhasa, the Tibet autonomous region. Members of TNT dance in front of the Jokhang Temple in the ancient Barkor Street area of Lhasa. A member of TNT displays a hip-hop movement in a studio in Lhasa.