Dedicated to dance
since 1910.

Buy Latest Issue

Rokpa kids on tour

Posted on June 14, 2012

web-1206_rokpa_kids-28Dance Today was lucky enough to be at Kagyu Samye Dzong Centre, Bermondsey, on June 13, for a very special performance by the “Rokpa kids on tour”.

web-1206_rokpa_kids-172The Rokpa kids are a group of street children from Kathmandu, who are homed and educated by the charity Rokpa. Currently on tour in Europe, the children tell their own stories through plays, dances and music in a very impressive and moving manner. 

Swiss actress Lea Wyler, who heads the relief organisation with Tibetan doctor and meditation master Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche and her father, the well-known lawyer Dr Veit Wyler, explained on the night in the shrine room, where the performance took place: “They had each come [to the charity’s soup kitchen] with a deep trauma… and I saw that more was needed to heal these children. So what to do?

“I started to employ music and dance teachers, but I never wanted to make them into little Swiss children – even though they do have to keep clean,” she smiled. “Why perform plays and dances by other people? The telling of their own suffering… has enormous healing effect.”

The hour-long performance tells the stories of the ten children: how they came to be on the streets, some of the experiences they had as they lived rough and the transformative effect of Rokpa in their lives. The lively dance numbers, performed with beaming smiles and bags of charm, covered everything from traditional Nepalese dances to a Bollywood routine and even the moonwalk.

One thing Lea Wyler loved, she said, to the appreciative audience sitting on the floor beneath the stage, was the fact that children who had spent their early lives looking up at adults with arms outstretched as they begged “are sitting up here and we are sitting down there”.

For full details of the tour, see http://www.rokpa.org/gbr/en/news-media/other-news/dance-tour-2012/

Photograph © www.darshanaphotoart.co.uk

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Now acting editor of Discover Britain magazine, she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success.

Connect with Dancing Times: