The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 9 , 2014
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Manipuri zing to festival

- Thang Ta in Ramnavami

Martial art mesmerises visitors

Manipuri martial artistes mesmerised a Jamshedpur audience during Ramnavami festivities on Tuesday.

About 18 performers from the Association for Paona Memorial Arts and Rural Development Services, Manipur, performed Thang Ta, an ancient Manipuri martial art form at Sonari’s Lalan Akhara.

This year, the akhara also invited a team of six acrobats from the same Manipur institute.

“The list of performances is longer this year. Besides martial arts, we are also promoting folk dancers from Jharkhand and outside. This apart, a group of 35 Sonari children performed acrobatics today (Tuesday). Children, aged between eight and 14 years, trained rigorously,” said Amarendra Singh, president of Lalan Akhara.

He added that a dhol group from Mumbai, Paakhi Naach group from Ranchi and Natwa Naach group from Potka also performed to wide applause from a 5,000-strong audience.

Manipuri artistes were mostly school and college students and pursued the art form to preserve it.

Among the performances were Thang Laiteng Haiba — a dance with weapons, Thang Yahum Yannaba — one person fighting two and other risky forms.

Veteran Thang Ta artiste and instructor of the Manipuri institute K. Hemchandra Sharma said: “The defence techniques of tribals have now evolved as martial arts,” said K. Hemchandra Sharma.

Sharma added that his students had been performing at Jamshedpur Ramnavami functions for over a decade. Aged between 16 and 28 years, most of them hold diplomas and degrees in the dance form.