Manipuri dances come from
the Manipur region in the Northeast. The Manipuris consider
themselves 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 Manipur to the accompaniment of
the Gandharvas to the celestial light of Mani (jewel)
from the head of the Atishesha, a serpent, and that is
how the dance has come to be called Manipuri.
dance from, the
Lasya (feminine) aspects predominate. Here the three
elements of Nritta, Nritya and Natya
are equally balanced. Being rich in emotional content and
sentiment of love the Sringar Rasa (erotic mood)
pervades the entire performance. The orchestra of rasa dance
consists of Khol or Mridangam, Manjira and flute. The art form
primarily depicts episodes from the life of Vishnu and is
paradoxically a most tender and vigorous form of expression. The
text songs are from great, saint lyricists like Jayadeva,
Vidyapati, Chandidas or from Bhagawat Purana. The costume is
rich and ornamental and extremely captivating. The Cholom dance
represents the Tandava aspect of the art and is always
virile, vigorous and sturdy.
Famous Exponents: Perhaps
the best-known Manipuri dancers today are the Jhaveri sisters,
Darshana, Ranjana and Lalana, Guru Bipin Singh, Devyani Chalia,
Charu Mathur and Sinhajit Singh. Karta Maharaj is described as
the 'Father of Manipuri Ras'.