In the sacred Tibetan Skeleton dance two Dharmapalas (Protectors of Truth) appear, played by Monks, deities whose role is to protect the cemetery grounds. Their presence also reminds the audience of the ephemeral nature of this world and of their own mortality. The cult of ?the Se?cond Buddha?, Padmasambhava, initiated the practice through the rich mythological literature.
Legong Film: Balinese Dream Dance of Nymphs in Heaven
Film and music of shimmering yet jarring beauty play together on a South Seas beach in “Legong: Dance of the Virgins.” It’s a rarely screened 1935 silent movie, shot entirely in Bali with a Balinese cast, mixed with a new score by Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Presented in a crude but rich two-strip early Technicolor process, one of the last silent films made by Hollywood, it depicts Bali as Westerners idealized it at the time.
Idle No More: Round Dance for Mother Earth
Idle No More has awakened indigenous voices from all over North America, blockading highways and border crossings, flash-mobbing in shopping malls, facing arrest and imprisonment. At issue are sovereignty and treaty rights, dancing and demonstrating for Mother Earth: for the protection of the air, the water, and the land, motivating native peoples out of their idleness and into the streets.
Papua New Guinea: Rainforest World of Sustainable River Guardians
The Sacred Land Film Project captured a revival of a canoe ceremony with feasting, dancing and carving, honoring their sacred Ramu River. The region is part of the third largest intact rainforest ecosystem left on earth, where sustainable agriculture and forestry practices have allowed societies to thrive for thousands of years, now threatened by multinational logging interests and corrupt governmental entities.
The Nutcracker Prince Battles the King of Mice at Christmas
Suddenly, mice fill the room and the Christmas tree grows to dizzying heights. The Nutcracker also grows to life-size. Marie finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of Gingerbread man soldiers and the mice, led by the fierce Mouse King. The mice begin to eat the gingerbread soldiers.
Day of the Dead: Mexica Dance Honoring the Soul’s Rest
In the pre-Hispanic era, skulls were kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. These ancestors passed down the knowledge that souls exist after death, resting in Mictlan, the land of the dead, not for judgment or resurrection, but for the day each year when they could return home to visit their loved ones.
Kumeyaay People: Traditions Survive in Baja California
Groups of Kumeyaay People live in the isolated canyons of the Tijuana River watershed, high in the Baja California peninsula. They harvest acorns and pine nuts, hunt rattlesnake and small animals, collect grasses to weave baskets. They allow a glimpse of what life in Southern California before the Spanish arrived was like.