Traditional Music & Dance

Zat pwe duet dance(Bamar)

All-night performances, which combine melodrama, slapstick, traditional dance, and even pop music are called "zat pwe" in Burma. These seasonal events are staged in enclosed temporary bamboo theaters and are typically part of annual fund raising activities at pagoda festivals. The performers are traveling troupes, usually several dozen professional male and female dancers, musicians, comedians, and actors. These troupes travel widely throughout the country. The Duet Dance, a standard part of the Zat Pwe, typically starts near 2- or 3-AM, and has a duration of about two hours.

Generally the lead actors dance with the lead actresses. The male dancers make a display, often with highly athletic and inventive elements. The male and female dancers sing in duet and exchange lover’s vows.

There is often a competitive aspect to see who in the troupe can win the favor of the loudest cheers. During all of this, the orchestra must synchronize to the action occurring on the stage. When done with excellence, this dance can create national fame for the troupe.