Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)
Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

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Policies and Actions


National level agency/organisation dedicated to preservation and promotion of traditional/folk performing arts

Fine Arts Department

Prominent NGOs working in this field

Myanmar Theatrical Association

Myanmar Music Association

Brief chronology-history

To preserve and promote of traditional/folk performing arts, the Government held a nationwide meeting in 1963 and established the Myanmar Theatrical Association and Myanmar Music Association after that meeting.

The State School of Drama and Music (Yangon) was established in 1952 and the State School of Drama and Music (Mandalay) in 1953. The State School of Fine Arts (Painting and Sculpture) in Yangon and Mandalay were also established in 1952 and 1953. The Yangon University of Culture was established in 1993 and the Mandalay University of Culture was established in 2001. After Completion of full time 3 year Degree courses and 4 year Honours Degree courses, specializing in Music, Dramatic Arts, Painting and Sculpture, they are conferred B.A and B.A (Hons) degrees for their respective specializations.

Carrying out Myanmar Traditional Culture Performing Arts Competition yearly since 1993 as well as other local competitions yearly.

Legislation in this field

Does not exist

There are six strategies at national level for preservation promotion of traditional/folk performing arts.
(1)Vitalization of patriotism and nationalist fervour in all citizens including youths.
(2)Preservation and safeguarding of Myanmar cultural heritage.
(3)Revival of Myanmar music and dance and revitalization of national pride and prestige.
(4)Flourishing of genuine Myanmar fine arts.
(5)Improvement of intellectual standard of youths.
(6)Prevention of infiltration of alien country.

Category/types of performing arts

There are three major types of Myanmar performing arts.
(1)Folk performing arts.
(2)Traditional/dramatic performing arts.
(3)Traditional performing arts of National Races within Myanmar Union.

Under the Folk performing arts, there are eight kinds of dances and music.
(1) Bon-gyi
(2) Bon-shey-gyi
(3) Bon-shey-Yein
(4) Ou:zi
(5) Do:bat
(6) Zaw-Yein
(7) Nat dance
(8) Nit-Pat-Khin

In Myanmar traditional/dramatic performing arts, there are many different kinds of dances and music. Regularly they can be classified into three main types of traditional performing arts. Those are:
(1) Anyeint dance
(2) Zat dance
(3)Marionette dance

The Union of Myanmar is a nation constituted with a variety of national races. There are eight major national races Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Each national races has several different kinds of dances and music.


Ministry of Union Culture (compiled)
1959 National Traditional Dance.
Ministry of Union Culture.
(95 entries)
(Format: print)

Pan Tayar Myint Aung (compiled)
1969 History of Myanmar.
(27 entries)
(Format: print)

Tin Tun Oo (compiled)
1999 Myanmar Ou:zi.
(1 entry)
(Format: print)

Audio・visual documentation collection

(1)Myanmar Radio and Television, Pyay Road, Yangon, Myanmar
(2)Information and Public Relations Department. No.22/24, Pansodan St., Yangon, Myanmar

Form of documentation: photograph, audio cassette, video cassette

Aspects of traditional/folk performing arts in education

Every student specializing in Music and Dramastic Arts has to choose according to their hobby to study traditional/folk performing arts ten periods (45 minutes each) weekly.

And also in the Myanmar Traditional Cultural Performing Arts Competitions every student can participate in the level of contestants such as Higher Education level, Basic Education level (5-10 years old), (10-15 years old), and (above 15 years old).

Data provider

Mr. Zaw Than
Fine Arts Department
Address: 131, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar

(Revised in July 2004)
Ms. Khin Hla Htay
Yangon University of Culture
Address: Aung Zeya Road, 26th block, South Dagon Myothit Township, Yangon, Myanmar