Attraction 27th Street between 65th and 66th, Mandalay, Myanmar Published on: 13-11-2015
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Why Mintha Theater is special ?
The Mintha Theater located at the 27th Street, near Sedona Hotel, in the Mandalay Region of Burma is dedicated to the traditional Burmese dance.
The creative diversity of Myanmar ranges from its brilliant artwork to its cultural dances. The Mintha Theater stages nightly performances bringing the enthralling range of traditional Burmese dances. A troupe consisting of 7 dancers graces the stage accompanied by drums, bells, pipes and harp. As the whole idea is to take the audience through an enriching journey of the country’s dance tradition, the dancers sport vividly bright attire that directly correspond to the folk history. The entire show is a thoroughly professional display choreographed or directed by U Ohn Maung.
The shows performed on a rotational basis generally last for an hour or so and showcase short dance pieces ranging from folk to court dances in grand traditional dresses or costumes. They generally start around 8.30 pm featuring 8 gamelan-style musicians along with 7 dancers. The program changes on a nightly basis featuring around or more twelve dances from the time of Bagan. The performances are held around 7 days a week and the ticket prices are 8000 kyats.
As per reports, the art scene in Myanmar is grappling with the lack of government backing (which, of course, is a consequence of the poverty). Thus it can well be said that this theater has successfully triumphed over these odds to emerge as one of the cornerstones of cultural exploits in the country. So, it’s definitely worth a visit.
- The only live theater in Mandalay
- Excellent show of traditional dance
- Worth a visit in Only an hour
- A charming taste of by-gone days
- Beautiful dances, colourful costumes, wondrous music
27th Street between 65th and 66th, Mandalay, Myanmar
Tips for you
This is an outstanding "human dancing performance" (in contrast to the marionettes) not to be missed in Mandalay. The night I attended, 7 men and women dancers performed 9 dances (6 solos, 2 duets, and 1 trio) from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM without intermission. After an overture, the show started with a woman playing the Burmese harp accompanied by the 5-piece band (3 kinds of drums, an instrument akin to a xylophone/chimes, and an instrument akin to an oboe) in front of a small theatrical stage framed with yellow curtains; the band accompanied each dance with incredible synchronization to the distinct movements, gestures, and facial expression of the dancers. Before each of the 10 dances/harp performance, a narrator gave a 20 second introduction in less than optimal English. I recommend asking the ticket seller before the show to specify the order of the dances listed on the flyer, since 15 items were listed and the order of the night's show did not follow the order on the flyer. Then read the 1-3 paragraph description of the dance/performance (with a small photograph) in the program book (in English) that is lent to the audience members for the evening; it is 3,000 kyats to purchase. Some of the titles of the dances were the following: Dance of the couple of mythical birds, Dance of the spirit medium, The Alchemist dance, Dance of the guardian spirit of Mt. Popa, Jolly joker dance, and Bagan dance. Each dance began and ended with a yellow curtain raised or lowered in front of the stage revealing a colorful backdrop and artful lighting. The qualities of the dancers are described well in the preface of the program book: "To achieve star status, a classical Myanmar dancer needs more than dance skills and mastery of a repertory. He must have a fine vocal ability, a handsome appearance, and be of medium build, ...good dramatic skills and be able to convey many different roles through gesture and facial expression. Finally he must have eloquence and ability to connect to an audience in speech." While only a few dancers sang or spoke, all certainly connected with this audience member as described. The costumes were both colorful and elaborate. Photography both with and without flash was permitted. I did not ask about video recording, but assume that was also permitted. So do definitely bring your camera! The admission cost is 8,000 kyats (7,000 with the flyer), and I would recommend arriving by 8:00 PM, 30 minutes before the show, to secure the best seat location, which are chosen at time of the ticket purchase. Overall, one of the highlights on my 2-week tour of Myanmar! Do not miss