Charya Dance for Primary Education Diploma


Course details

Entry requirements: 6 months to a year experience in this dance before they can apply to this training and know by heart the dance movement and songs that will be taught.

Language: All classes and instruction in English. 
Duration: 3-years, January 2022 to November 2024
Assessment: Continuous assessment including attendance, class participation, written assignments, oral presentations, reflective practice and preparing lessons and activities for charya dance for primary education. 
Award: Charya Dance for Primary Education Diploma in Abiding Heart Education™ 

Course Overview

Charya dance portrays the Buddhist peaceful and wrathful deities. This dance has been practiced by the Newari priests, called Bajracharya, of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal for centuries. In Charya dance we learn to build a different understanding of space; outer space and own inner meditative space. This dance can be seen in some ways as a moving mediation. Charya is also called the dance of the mudras which helps us develop a deeper understanding and recognition of this Buddhist deity and explore the transcendent qualities of sound through reciting the relevant deity dance mantra and song. The song accompanying the dance opens with a salutation and describes the deity's characteristics and accessories. Each Charya dance tells the unique stories of different Buddhist deities. The dances portray the stories of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, interpreting the songs through codified hand gestures, or mudras. The dance reflects inner qualities of various Buddhist deities. The dance conveys the iconographic symbolism of deities and depict their accomplishments.

Depending on the qualities of the deity danced, this dance can be graceful and energetic and the movements fluid or decisive. The experience of engaging in this dance can help children learn, understand and experience the activity, appearance, and qualities of a deity, and in doing so, cultivate wisdom, compassion, and skilful means.


This training weaves together the various Chraya dance forms, Buddhism, child development and movement pedagogy through, bringing together experiential Buddhist philosophy, meditation and contemplative practice, arts child development and curriculum studies and application.


In this teacher training course we learn how to teach Charya dance for primary school age children, age 6-14. This includes basic exercises, building up the understanding of the various mudras and postures leading up to learning how to teach the Charya dance curriculum for class 1 through 8 in details. 


We will become familiar with the recitation, chanting and singing the various Charya songs and the accompanied cymbals musical instrument. These devotional songs, supplicate, describe, and praise the deity in Sanskrit. Trainees learn the beat, melody, and the meaning of the songs. This will be linked to philosophy and meditation classes studies in first portion of the teacher training.


The dance tells the story of the various Buddhist deities in movement and includes a salutation and a description of the deity's transcendental characteristics, inner qualities and accessories the deity is wearing. To be able to understand what each deity represents trainees spend a semester laying a foundation for understanding Buddhist philosophy and meditation, without which will be difficult to understand the meaning behind this dance and running the risk of it becoming an form based dance only without the link to the rich Buddhist tradition of inner development.  In this training we also spend time exploring philosophical meaning behind each deity whose dance is being practiced.


We will also explore the connection of this mudra dance, with support to all-round child development, wellbeing and Buddhist Psychology. To do so trainees learn child development as part of human development from a Buddhist, scientific and holistic perspectives. This also includes a study of anatomy and physiology linked with physical development of the child.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have at least 6 months to a year experience in this dance before they can apply to this training and know by heart the dance movement and songs of the following Charya dances:

  • Refuge

  • 16 goddesses offering

  • White Tara

  • Vajrasattva

  • Vajrayogini


We recommend you take lessons privately with the following Charya dance teachers:

Prajwal Bajracharya:

Sangita and Swaembhu Shakya:


Course Content

Semester 1: Experiential Buddhist Foundation Studies

Semester 2: Child development from birth to rebirth, learning theories, anatomy and physiology of middle childhood

Semesters 3 to 6: Charya dance from Primary school curriculum studies. The curriculum studies includes:

  • History of Charya dance

  • Meaning of iconography

  • Charya songs and beat: learning to sing charya songs, tala (beat), raga (melody), musical instruments (Tinchu and Damaru); and understanding the meaning of each song as well as word to mudra

  • Charya teaching methodology and lesson structures for class 1 to 8

  • Charya dance curriculum content for class 1 to 8

  • Understanding and working with the mandala principle

  • Linking view, meditation with the deity dance

  • Making Charya dance costumes, ornaments and accessories for each deity

  • Nurturing reverence and contemplation in children

  • Speech and Storytelling linked with charya

  • Students develop speech, communication and presentation skills needed for teaching children

  • Learning and practicing basic exercises: Basic exercises as the foundation for Charya Nritya with large movements for children age 6 and continuing with fine motor hands and fingers exercises for children age 6-8. The foundation exercises continue with teaching the four steps and postures of the various deities for children age 8-9. The last level of foundation exercises for children from age 7-9 is to bring together hands and legs movements together. All together we will cover 4 levels of foundation exercises to teach children from class 1-3. The foundation exercises also includes: Legs movement; Gesture movement; Hand and legs coordination; Awakening the body exercises; Hip and head exercises; Tribanga practice; Mudras that repeat themselves in all dances (such as namami mudra); Hand mudras

  • In semester 1 and 2 students will learn Avalokiteshvara, Gren Tara and Manjushri dances together with the meditation practices

  • In semester 3 to 6 students will learn the dances of Guru Rinpoche, Pancha Buddhas, Five Taras, Prajnaparamitas, Mahakala, Vajrapani. Students should be able to dance White Tara, Vajrasattva Vajrayogini and have a strong grasp of refuge, bodhichitta, 16 goddesses offering and dedication movement and songs or chants

  • Linking philosophy to deity dance: connecting content philosophy taught in experiential Buddhist foundation studies with the deity dance

  • Linking child development to deity dance: connecting content of child development taught with the effect of the deity dance taught on children’s all-round development


Without prior knowledge, experience and dance pracrice of charya dance it will be difficult for a student to complete this course. This course also requires a good level of fitness as minimum 3 hours a day is dedicated to learning dances and in addition, students are expected to practice at least 11 /2 hours a day.


Course Schedule

Semester 1: January to May 22 2022, 17 weeks of classes

Semester 2: July to October 2022, 11 weeks of classes

November to December 2022 Self-Study, practice, and practicum

Semester 3: January to March 2023, 9 weeks of classes

April to June 2023  Self-Study, practice, and practicum

Semester 4: August to October 2023, 9 weeks classes

November to December 2023 Self-Study, practice, and practicum

Semester 5: January to May 22 2024, 9 weeks of classes

April to June 2024  Self-Study, practice, and practicum

Semester 6: August to October 2024, 9 weeks of classes

November 2024 Graduation

Course Content Delivery or Methodology

In this course we take a theoretical and a practical approach to delivering the content. The theoretical aspect will be delivered through lectures, group discussions, and contemplation. Students will practice the dance forms and sequences appropriate for class 1-8 and will learn how to teach Charya to children in an imaginative and creative way. Students will practice teaching Charya and will watch others teach as a way of building up their confidence in teaching this to children.