Young Ti­betans em­brace hip-hop dance

China Daily (Canada) - - TIBET -

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.”

PHO­TOS BY PALDEN NYIMA / CHINA DAILY

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.

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