Thabal Chongba

thabal002

Thabal Chongba is a popular Manipuri folk dance associated with the festival of Yaoshang. The literal meaning of Thabal is ‘moonlight’ and Chongba means ‘dance’, thus ‘dancing in the moonlight’. Traditionally conservative Manipuri parents did not allow their daughters to go out and meet any young men without their consent. Thabal Chongba therefore provided the only chance for girls to meet and talk to boys. In earlier times, this dance was performed in the moonlight accompanied by folk songs. The music is rhythmic beating of drums accompanied by other instruments. It is performed in every locality on all the five days of the festival. As soon as the moon rises over the hills the flute, the drums and the cymbals starts pouring out music. The boys and girls in a circle clutch each others hands with rhythms of music slow and fast, high and low, up and down. If the number is great they may form two or three rows so that everybody and anybody can participate in the dance. Of its special interest in the dance of legs and of the mind by the side of girl on the part of the males and also by the side of youth on the part of the females and hand in hand dancing. They wear no make-up and special costumes.

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