During the festival a member from each lineage are required to attend the entire tshechu. Until and unless the festival dismisses for And in the students, the man from Simodanglo (opposite Namseling) in Thimphu claims that he sees his own youth, which was spent in performing dances, singing songs, and playing music.
Ap Poptey said that besides having a very melodious voice, his polished movements and elegant expressions made him one of the best performers of his time. "I performed in many of our country's significant occasions and festivals and led first group of royal dancers," he said.
He was a complete artist considering his master over Zhungdra, more than 14 types of Wang Zhey, and playing musical instruments and performing mask dances. His students included prominent figures like Ap Dopey.
And all this, he had learned by watching others perform and had not undergone any kind of formal training.
At a very young age, he replaced his father in serving at the late King Jigme Wangchuck's palace. At that time, construction of Kuenga Rabten palace was underway. Finding it difficult to comply with the strenuous work, he moved to serve late queen mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden. (more information)
At that time, he was sent to Paro during a tsechu where he met the third King who was then a Paro Penlop. He was asked to perform pow (a dance performed for auspicious beginning) along with three other veterans of the time.
While he had not taken any formal training, his interest and the little knowledge he gained by watching Bab Satu, the changap, perform during archery matches was enough to impress the viewers. He was then commanded to teach the dance to eight selected villagers at the same time take formal training from Bab Satu.
"It was not easy. It was necessary to master the art in one day and it included perfection in every small details," he told Kuensel.
After that Ap Poptey traveled to different places looking for promising dancers with good features and competent voice in the west that later comprised the royal dancers. "Good looks and voice really mattered at those days," he said.
Meanwhile, Ap Poptey is teaching Wang Zhey and other traditional dances to the students in schools of Trashigang, with support from the dzongkhag.
Dzongda Minjur Dorji, who initiated the programme, said that it was important to make best use of such resourceful person and ensure continuity of the traditional dances.
"In many places the originality of the dance is disappearing," he said.
Poptey agrees. "With time, people are losing interest in such culture,"
he said. "These are part of Bhutanese etiquettes introduced by Zhabdrung
Ngawang Namgyal and is important to preserve it."