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Manipuri Dance

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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.

In this 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 Bhagavat 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'.

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