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Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts celebrates 54th anniversary

August 26, 2013

August 25, 2013: This week the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) celebrated its 54th founding anniversary with a theme on preservation of Tibetan language. TIPA was the first institution established by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in exile – it’s purpose to preserve the unique cultural traditions that were slowly being eroded inside Tibet.

First known as the Tibetan Music, Dance and Drama Society (Bho Ki Dhoegar Tsokpa), the institute opened officially on August 11, 1959.  Sixteen children were selected from the Tibetan Children’s Village to be trained as artists and they moved into an old British home above McLeod Gang which consisted of a main house and two cowsheds.  The facilities were run down but had a beautiful view of the Bagsunath Valley and river.  Those first members lived in difficult conditions but spirits were high.  Guided by their teachers, they began the task of collecting songs and dances from all parts of Tibet, and choreographing dances to accompany them.  Efforts were accompanied by collecting or reproducing musical instruments and costumes.  Many were donated to the institute by the Dalai Lama himself.  Throughout the early years, dances and plays were presented in all the settlement camps of India and in Dharamsala. 

In its first decade, TIPA trained more than 50 artists who were sent to the various settlements to teach songs and music to the children who lived there.  In 1975, TIPA made its first tour of North America. The institute has now trained more than 400 Tibetan artists, several of whom live in Canada.  It has organised musical concerts in more than 36 countries to promote and raise awareness about Tibet and its rich cultural heritage.

“TIPA has made great efforts to keep alive Tibet’s unique tradition of performing arts since it was re-established immediately after coming into exile by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in August 1959 after the Chinese invasion of Tibet,” Tsering Yangkyi, the current director of TIPA, told a gathering of top officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, Indian dignitaries and other guests during last week’s celebration.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Penpa Tsering, speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, praised the former and present artistes and staff members of TIPA for their continued efforts in keeping alive Tibet’s unique performing arts.

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