Bhutanese Nepalese dance group receives community grant

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Burlington City Arts recognizes local organizations that have shown their dedication to equity and inclusion through the arts.

They just distributed $35,000 to 13 artists and arts organizations as part of the 2021 BCA Community Fund grant.

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

Khadka says 70-80% of her students don’t speak their native language at home. He hopes his dance lessons will help change that.

“All the songs are in Nepali and the children learn Nepali through dance, through song,” he said. “It’s a way of teaching the Nepali language. It is a way of teaching culture. It is a way of introducing them to Nepalese cultural activities.

Khadka also believes in the importance of empowering 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 culture. They already know that the new generations are heading down the wrong path,” Khadka said. “So those are the main benefits for children.”

The Vermont Nepali Bhutanese Cultural Heritage Dance Group’s studio is currently closed due to the pandemic, but they are hosting classes virtually for anyone who wishes to attend.

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

Copyright 2021 WCAX. All rights reserved.