Born in Guri village of Pyuthan district, dance director Jogendra KC stands out as a prominent figure in the realm of dance. His passion for promoting Nepal’s authentic culture has resonated not only within the country but has also left waves internationally.
He is now affiliated with notable organisations such as the Nepal Lok Saskritik Pratishthan, Nepal Folkloric Foundation, Everest Nepal Culture Group and the International Organisation of Folk Art. From his tender age, Jogendra had a fascination with dance. Gorkhaptra Sansthan’s Consulting Editor Upesh Maharjan, journalists Sukreet Nepal, Manoj Ratna Shah and Keshav Gurung recently talked to KC. Excerpts:
It seems you are busy these days. What are you doing?
Currently, I’m engrossed in a cultural programme. My days are filled with teaching and training sessions.
How long have you been in this field?
I have been in the dance profession for over three decades.
What sparked your interest in this field?
Since my early days, dance captivated me. I always took part in extracurricular activities, mostly the dramas staged in school.
I fondly remember those drama nights when seniors would present plays that encompassed comedy, dance, singing, and musical performances. Watching those programmes with keen interest fueled my passion for dance.
What is dance?
Dance is a mesmerising form of art, conveyed through rhythmic movements using various parts of the body.
How have you helped in promoting Nepali dance globally?
Initially, my involvement was limited to dance training and local cultural events. However, over time, I began actively participating in international campaigns. These endeavours allowed me to showcase the diverse dances of various Nepali castes to global audiences. While I began as a mere participant, I soon took on the role of choreographing these dances. Today, I continue my mission of sharing Nepal’s rich dance heritage with the world.
How do you feel while sharing Nepali culture and artistry on the international platform?
Presenting my nation’s culture on a global stage makes me believe that I am fulfilling a duty that ideally should have been undertaken by national organisations like the Tourism Board or the Ministry of Culture. Culture is intricately tied to a nation’s identity. Showcasing dances from diverse Nepali castes and having cultural exchanges with international audiences are an exhilarating experience. It feels as though I’m stepping in to do what the government ought to. I am not trying to blame the government, but I just wanted to say that it would have been better if the government had taken responsibility.
What differentiates our dance from the dances of other nations?
The cultural arts of Nepal stand out distinctly on the global stage. Across our terrains—be it mountains, hills, or plains—Nepal boasts a rich tapestry of dance forms, art traditions, unique lifestyles, musical genres, folk songs, instruments, and melodies.
Our traditional costumes set us apart with their uniqueness. When we observe European performances, they might appear homogenous to us in rhythm and style. However, the diversity and depth of our dances are unparalleled. Nonetheless, there’s an undeniable finesse in foreign performances. Their execution and style often surpass ours, a testament to their profound dedication and practice. Yet, our dances command global attention for their richness.
How do foreign artists perceive Nepali dance?
Foreign artists are often captivated by our dances, our attire, and the ornaments we adorn on our heads and ears. From our traditional costumes to our distinct caste communities, they express profound admiration. They see ours as a country rich in culture and art, and they laud us in a truly enchanting manner.
What do you think needs to be done to develop dance?
The development of dance and cultural arts in Nepal is crucial, and the government should lead this initiative for optimal results. The Ministry of Culture of Nepal, along with the cultural organisations functioning under its jurisdiction, and the Nepal Academy of Music and Drama proposed for the seven provinces, should collaboratively strengthen the foundation of Nepali arts and culture. By nurturing our traditional tunes and practices, and ensuring representation of all ethnicities, we can safeguard our rich cultural heritage.
What weaknesses do you see in this area?
One of our weaknesses is our inability to define our identity. Despite our wealth and the rich artistic cultures of every caste, we often neglect to analyse and appreciate these treasures. We must prioritise learning to protect and preserve our cultures.
(Translated by Renuka Dhakal