Bhutanese Nepali Dance Group awarded community grant

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 9:29 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington City Arts is recognizing local organizations that have shown their dedication to equity and inclusion through the arts.

They just distributed $35,000 among 13 artists and art organizations through the 2021 BCA Community Fund Grant.

Bhutanese Nepali Cultural Heritage Dance Group of Vermont is one of the recipients. The owner, Bishnu Khadka, founded the organization in 2016. He currently has about 15 students, majority of whom are of South Asian descent.

Khadka says 70% to 80% of his students don’t speak their native tongue at home. He hopes his dance classes will help change that.

“All the songs are in Nepali and the kids are learning Nepali through the dance, through the song,” he said. “That is one way of teaching Nepali language. That is one way of teaching the culture. That’s one way of introducing them to the Nepali cultural activities.”

Khadka also believes in the importance of empowering the youth through community engagement by giving them the knowledge to educate their peers and preserve their culture.

“At least they can teach other kids. At least they can tell the other kids. They already know the importance of the culture. They already know that the new generations are moving toward the wrong track,” Khadka said. “So this is the main benefits for the kids.”

The Bhutanese Nepali Cultural Heritage Dance Group of Vermont studio is currently closed due to the pandemic but they’re holding classes virtually for anyone who would like to attend.

Some of the other organizations awarded include the Greater Burlington Children’s Chorus, the Burlington Writers Workshop, and VT Stage Picnic Plays.

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