Core of Culture Dance Preservation is a registered tax exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to safeguarding Intangible World Heritage. The emphasis is on ancient dance and endangered movement traditions in the healing, meditation and martial arts. Core of Culture initiates, supports and documents projects to enhance the appreciation and preservation of these rare forms of movement.
BHUTAN DANCE PROJECT UNDERWAY
Core of Culture Dance Preservation has completed the first six months of field production in its work for the Honolulu Academy of Arts' groundbreaking project with the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, "The Dragon's Gift." Unlike no other museum-sponsored exhibition in the past, "The Dragon's Gift" undertakes programs of dance preservation and art conservation as gifts to the Kingdom, and is designing an exhibition experience uniting the twin artistic manifestations of Vajrayana Buddhism: Art and Dance.
"We have 2 more years in the field making documentations and ethnographic records of the extant sacred dance lineages in Bhutan," says Core of Culture Director Joseph Houseal, "- then another year to work with the museum art team for the final exhibition and tour of dancers. Being able to work toe to toe with the art restoration experts, religious advisors and curators that Honolulu Academy brings to this project, our Core of Culture methodology and research capacity deepens and fills new areas of understanding about dance. Honolulu's Director, Dr Stephen Little, has an inspiring vision about what an Academy of Arts can be and do. Core of Culture is proud to be a part of it."
The centerpiece of Core of Culture's work now is the creation of the Bhutan Dance Database and High-Definition Media Archive. "To date the Database has over 200 separate dance entries interfacing with more than 150 hours of high-definition video documentation," reports Database Designer and Research Associate Gerard Houghton. "Advances in user-friendly digital technologies help make a large amount of high quality visual material easily available to researchers, and make the Database an ongoing research tool as it grows. With this Database, Bhutan is leading the world in ancient dance preservation."
Since January, 2005, the CoC Production team has filmed Sacred Dance Festivals at Punakha, Trashiyangtze ( Chorten Kora ), Paro, Dzongdra, Ura, and Nyimalung. In addition, danced rituals performed by a pre-Buddhist Bon-po Village Oracle have been filmed, as well as the dance technique demonstration of a particularly rare dance, called Chamchen. The production team includes Emmy award winning television producer Amy Christenson, and independent film producer Linda Burns.
Core of Culture is delighted to have Bhutanese film director Karma Tshering as its Production collaborator. Plans for the dance work in "The Dragon's Gift" include producing a dance-based feature film directed by Karma Tshering. "We are excited to be working with Karma," explains Houseal, " He's talented; he loves Bhutan; and a film by him would ignite a national dialogue about the state of the ancient dances like nothing else could. Preserving ancient dances requires a multi-front approach, and the strategic use of creative media is part of it."