Dances of Bhutan
The most popular chaam is the Black Hat dance, where dancers wear large hats, high boots and silk brocade costumes. This dance relates the 8th– century murder of the anti- Buddhist Tibetan king, Langdarma, by a Tantric priest. Other interesting dances include the Drummers From Dametsi, composed by Pemalingpa in the 16th century after he had a vision of the paradise of Guru Rinpoche: the Hunter and the Deer, depicting the conversion of a hunter to Buddhism by Milarepa, the 12th– century saint and poet: Judgement of the Dead, which relates what happens to those who commit evil deeds: the Noblemen and the Ladies, a ribald play about the greatness of forgiving: the dance of the Guradians of the Cremation Grounds, featuring skeletons and other ghoulish props: the dance of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, marking the end of the tshechu and culminating in a general blessings for the public; and Pacghham, Dance of the Heroes, performed all over Bhutan by young monks wearing crowns, resplendent brocade jackets and swirling silks.
While there are chaams where dancers perform their own music, the more religiously significant dances are supported by cast of musicians from the clergy, clashing hand-held cymbals and blowing long horns while chanting from holy texts. Apart from maintaining the tempo of the dances, the words and music of the monastic ensemble make of the ceremonies more spiritually potent.