Kumpitlung dance is prevalent among the Tarao tribal community mainly living in the Tengnoupal district of Manipur. The dance has three parts which are called (i) Enthlona, (ii) Ral Lam, and (iii) Kathla Lam. The Taraos believe that they initially lived in caves. The Enthlona part depicts how the community came out of the cave and what they did after that. The second part called Ral Lam signifies the victory of the community over their enemies. The concluding part called Kathla Lam is a festive dance. All the three parts may be performed one after another or at different times. Both boys and girls perform the dance wearing appropriate costume which is different for the three different parts. The dance is accompanied by a big cylindrical drum with two faces. While one face is covered with deer skin, the other, by a cow skin. The other musical instruments are: Shananda. a bowed variety of chordophone; a gong, an idiophone made of the horn of a Mithun which looks as if it is a mixture of buffalo and bullock. The musicians also sing appropriate songs for the three parts of the dance.
Lam-Kut-Lam is the harvest dance of the Kom tribe of Manipur. There are about ten thousand Korns belonging to the Kuki-Chin constellation of tribes. In the month of July/August, when the paddy transplantation is over, the Koms hold a grand festival. That is the time for the Reivang flowers to blossom. Young boys and girls wearing these flowers on their headgears dance joyously in the festival while singing specific songs. The well-to-do farmers of the Kom tribe present the dancers pigs, cows, and buffaloes as gifts. These are killed on the concluding day of the celebration and a grand feast is arranged. It is believed that the dance brings prosperity to the village. One of the songs that accompany the dance invokes a god named Khornu. In the dance the Reivang flowers symbolize richness and prosperity.
Among the martial dances some are not much stylized and their martial character is obvious. Some are so stylized that careful analysis only reveals their martial character. One of the martial dance of former kind is Thang-Ta of Manipur. Thang means sword and Ta means spear. The dance is performed with other weapons also. It is basically a mock fight of attack and defense. Traditionally various kinds of martial dances are performed on the concluding day of the Lai Haroba festival. The tradition is very ancient and its reference is found in many myths peculiar to Manipur. The myth connected with the martial crafts is as follows: A progeny of Teen Sidaba, who is the progenitor of the ancient Manipuri race called Mata, was lost having been caught in the ancient fish trap of Thongnang and the various parts of his body became different kinds of sword, knives, other weapons and tools. Teen Sidaba is an aspect of Pakhangba, the God. When Pakhangba springs into the core of the sun and remains there inside the golden casket, he is known as Teen Sidaba. It is Pakhangba who originated the Thang Ta.
There are two kinds of swordplay : the make-believe kind is called Leiteng Thang, and the actual fight is called Yanna Thang. Generally, the former kind is performed as dance.
One of the finest example of drum dance is the fascinating Pung Cholam of Manipur. It is a highly sophisticated dance with all the elements of a so called classical dance. Pung is a drum with two faces. One face, usually played with the tight hand, is much smaller than the other. The drum is slung from the neck of the drummer for playing with both the hands. Pung Cholam is performed either solo or in a group. At times, about a hundred drummers perform the dance all wearing spotless white dhoti and white turban. It is then a treat for the eyes, ears, and mind. The aesthetic appeal is so over-powering that it becomes an experience for the life time. While playing intricate rhythmic passages on the drums, the drummers not only dance gracefully and vigorously, but also swings the drum in incredible ways, all the while playing. There ate also acrobatic elements in the dance.
Actually, cholam is a generic name of percussion dances prevalent in Manipur: Cholam performed by men are vigorous having acrobatic elements. Those performed by women are delicate and lyrical. The style of dance changes as the percussion instrument changes. Men perform two other drum dances with Dhol and Daph, a frame drum. Men also perform Kartaal Cholam. Kartaal is a pair of large cymbals. The cholams performed by women are not with drums, but with idiophones like clappers and smaller cymbals. Among all the cholams, the Pung Cholam is the best.
In the hills of Manipur lives the Tangkhul tribal community. In the month of December they perform the Thisham dance. The dancers form a bow-like arrangement and depict the cycle of life and death. The song accompanying the dance speaks of the meeting of souls after death and exhort people not to be afraid of death.
Shad RonkhlaAt Nongtalang village in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya live twelve tribal communities. They all perform Shad Ronkhla or Tiger dance. Whenever a tiger is killed by the hunters of these tribes, the representatives of the tribes go to the priest who fixes a date for the performance of the dance to celebrate the killing of the tiger. All the twelve communities participate in the dance. First the boys dance it during the day and later the girls dance at night. The dancers wear their ceremonial costumes and the music is provided by simple instruments, such as, flute, a huge war drum, a smaller drum and a clapper made of bamboo.