Utpalasia is the evolving vision of founders Cordula and Bhim Dahal whose first collaborations were the establishment of several successful dance training centers in Kathmandu in 2003-2004. Their shared love of Himalayan heritage, combined with the desire to preserve, protect, and promote the cultural arts, led them to the creation in 2007 of Utpalasia’s parent company, Nepal Dance School, located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
NDS, a teaching and performing institution dedicated to cross-cultural communication and appreciation through interactive programs, has been a pioneer in original instructional methods for dance and music and the presentation of unique performances which highlight cultures, traditions, lifestyle, and the arts, many of them at risk of change, decline, or disappearance.
Years of experience with audiences at hundreds of venues showed us the need to expand both the geography and content of our focus. And so, in 2015, Utpalasia.org was formed, the next transformation in our dream to bring the beauty and immense diversity of the Himalayan regions and other fascinating South and Southeast Asian nations to wider audiences everywhere. The ‘utpala’ in our name refers to the blue lotus associated with Manjusri, the god of wisdom. It is also an important symbol in Buddhism and is intimately connected with the founding of the Kathmandu Valley, an area which holds a particular significance for us.
Our commitment is stronger than ever, and our expanded components – lifestyle, gastronomy, community outreach, news, language, traditions, empowerment support, and education, along with our classic dance and music offerings – are a constant work-in-progress, but one to which we will continue to devote ourselves and our resources.