The academy was founded in 1954

Event: Three years after the Royal command by His Majesty The King, the Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) formally opened as an institution in the capital, yesterday.

A total of fourteen students were admitted this year marking the beginning of a new formal syllabus like in any other institution. With the new syllabus in place, the students will undergo both theory and practical trainings on the various subjects taught at RAPA.

RAPA’s principal, Kinzang Thinley, said the academy was following the old method of teaching where students just learnt how to dance, sing and play musical instruments without knowing anything about its history and significance.

“With RAPA as an institution, the students will not only graduate as professional performing artisans but they will be equipped with knowledge as well,” Kinzang Thinley said.

The 14 students will now undergo a three-year course where the best ones will be given a chance to study another one-year diploma course at the institution.

“Once the students complete the course, they will be recruited as teachers in schools and cultural officers across the country,” Kinzang Thinley said.

The opening of RAPA as an institution also marked the sixtieth birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the birth anniversary of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, the principal said.

RAPA was founded in 1954 under the initiative of the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, which supports the preservation of traditional Bhutanese culture. It was formally institutionalised as an academy in 1967.

“RAPA has been performing as an institution from the beginning but it lacked its function as an institution in real sense,” Kinzang Thinley said. “Students were simply taught orally by the teachers without any formal teachings.”

After RAPA functions as a formal institution, students who graduate from RAPA will have better job opportunities since they will be both equipped with theory as well as practical trainings, the principal said.

“The project profile of the new institution is ready for now and it’s just a matter of time before RAPA fully functions as an institution,” Kinzang Thinley said.

The opening ceremony was graced by the home and cultural affairs minister Damcho Dorji along with government officials and representative from the Indian Embassy.

By Thinley Zangmo