In the north-east of India, surrounded by undulating hills, is the beautiful valley of Manipur. Manipuri is a dance form native to this region. The Manipuris consider themse-
lves the descendants of the Gandharvas, the legendary musicians, and dancers of the celestial courts of Indira.

Manipuri dance is a generic name and covers all the dance forms of this land. According to legend, Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati danced in the valleys of Manipuri to the acco-
mpaniment of the Gandharvas to the celestial light of Mani (jewel) from the head of the Atishesha, a serpant and that is how it has come to be called Manipuri.

The musical forms of Manipuri dance reflect the culture of the state of Manipur. The art form primarily depicts episodes from the life of Vishnu and is paradoxically a most tender and vigorous form of expression. Balance and a restraint of pow-
er are the predominant features. Lyrical grace, lightness of tread and delicacy of hand gestures set Manipuri apart from the geometric structure of Bharata Natyam and the linear quality of Kathak.

Apart from the leisurely Ras dances, the Manipuri tradition also incorporates certain items known as Choloms which are vigorous tandava items and employ a thrilling variety of rhythmic patterns in which the dancer leaps, whirls and spins on the floor while- marking; the rhythm on the drum slung from his neck. Important in this category are the Poong Cholom, danced by men holding drums, and the Kartal Cholom, performed by men or women with cymbals in their hands. The Choloms are all part of the Sankeertana of Manipur, which is a tradition of singing and dancing directed towards achieving union with god.

Yet another tradition of dance in Manipur is the Lai Haraoba, a festival comprising, dances relating to the creation of the universe. The popular dances on the co-
ncluding day consist of a re-enactment of the story of a pauper and a princ-
ess who symbolize ideal lovers in the mythology of the Manipuris.

...more manipuri (great pictures!)

Mudra ||  4000 years old! ||  Dance of Shiva ||  Bharatanatyam ||  Kathak ||  Kuchipudi ||  Kathakali || 
Mohini Attam ||  Odissi ||  Manipuri ||  Bibliography ||