Because Cham as an art form is so vast and deep, I decided to focus my writing on one specific type of Cham. However, videos have been provided for multiple styles of Cham, so the viewer can experience them.
The purpose of this specific type of Cham dance is eliminate any influence that is interfering with the Buddha’s teachings. Numerous rituals are performed before the dance begins, in order to invite various lamas, dharma protectors, and other religious figures to help the dancers remove the obstacles. After this happens, the various dancers, who represent various wrathful deities, and visualizing themselves as such, surround a drawing of a human body that is supposed to represent the various evils and obstacles that the dancers are trying to eliminate. The dancers then display the nine traditional weapons of Buddhist art, and use a ritual dagger to penetrate the drawing of the human body and thereby eliminating that evil spirits.
According to Ven. Ngawang Chonjor “The main purpose of wrathful enlightened activity in tantric practice is for this specific purpose of destroying negative influences. From the short term immediate perspective, it looks like there is a very violent action taking place. But unlike when someone kills a goat or other animal for his own benefit, in this case, the action is performed with a mind that has as its foundation the complete union of the realization of the profound view of emptiness as well as the sublime attitude of the mind of enlightenment.” (Hoetzlein 320)
As with all types of Cham, Dep Cham is performed in a large open monastery courtyard or any other sort of large open space. Because Cham is the most widely watched and widely established form of ritual dance, it is usually the center of numerous religious festivals.