The Karen traditional Don Dance has been included in the Burma National Performing Arts competition that has been held for over 20-years.
The inclusion of the ethnic performing arts, particularly ethnic traditional dances, were discussed at the recent meeting of the competition convening committee where Karen and Rakhine traditional dances were voted to be included, according to a senior official of ministry of religious and cultural affairs.
U Hla Khaing, one of the directors from the department of culture explained, “We sent letters to the regions about the inclusion. Three judges from each ethnic nationalities were also chosen.”
However, this year the performing arts competition is scheduled to be held next month but until now ethnic culture committees are not aware of the inclusion or have been told about the change.
Man Saw Mya Aye, chairman of Karen state Literature and Culture Committee told Karen News that they haven’t heard that Karen Don dance is to be included in the nation-wide performing arts competition.
Similarly, Don Dance teacher like Sa Aung Kyaw Nyein also hasn’t heard of the inclusion.
“We haven’t heard anything about the nationwide performing art competition yet,” Sa Aung Kyaw Nyein said.
Man Tun Lin, secretary of Literature and Culture Committee of Myaungmya Township in the Ayeyarwady Region also told Karen News that they have yet to be informed about the inclusion.
Don Dance organizers and teachers told Karen News that it will take time to prepare for the dance to be entered into the competition as it is necessary to form a troupe consisting of singers, dancers and instrument players. If the given time is not enough, it will be difficult to find the number needed as many young people have migrated and it’s difficult to contact them.
The Karen Don Dance, has been admired by other ethnic nationals. The dance is seen in Karen and Mon State, Ayeyarwady region, Yangon and in Karen communities overseas.
Previously, the national performing arts competition is held each year but according to the decision made at the recent meeting, it will be held every two years and dances of ethnic nationalities are to be included according to the committee sources.