Manipuri Classical Dance
Manipuri dance is one of India’s most beautiful Classical dance styles. It belongs to the mountainous region of the northeast, and the name of the dance came from the name of this area, Manipuri. According to the ancient scripts, the gods were excited when they saw this beautiful place and wanted to enjoy the site by dancing. So the gods drained a lake in the beautiful countryside to find a place to dance.
Manipuri means a jewel of land. The dance is performed during the wedding days and at the time of paying homage to their ancestors. Naturally, the area spreads with greenery and is situated in beautiful locations.
The tradition of Lai Haroba caused the creation of the present Manipuri folk dance. Still, we can see the practice of Lai Haroba in some areas of the state. The dancers perform this art as a group or solo presentations.
Themes of the Manipuri dance form
The themes of the dance are adopted from Hindu mythologies. Especially Lord Krishna and Radha-related stories are the themes of the dance. The Raas Leela depicts the cosmic dance of Krishna and the cowherd maidens. The dancers wear beautifully embroidered skirts, flared from the waist. Krishna’s costume is prepared specially, and a tall peacock feather is arranged to the crown. The dress styles of the dancers made the radiant appearance of this classical dance, and they performed swaying and twirling to an ascending tempo.
Pung Cholasm is another animated feature of Manipuri; during this classical dance, the performers play the drums and follow the classical dance. The Manipuri dance steps leap and turns to a fast rhythm.
Manipuri Dance dress and Instruments
The dancers danced to the music of various instruments. Pung or Manipuri Mridanga ritual character is the leading soul of the dance. The tools are needed in every social and devotional ceremony in Manipur, and the people revere these instruments. Pung Cholom used to perform to modulate the sound from a whisper to a thunderous climax. The interplay of intricate rhythms and cross-rhythms with varying markings of time from the slow to the quick with graceful and vigorous body movements leading to the heights.
Maibi – Another Manipuri dance form
Maibi is very important to the Meiteis, the inhabitants of the valley of Manipur. They celebrate the Lai-Haraoba festival, following strictly traditions of their own. The people show their concept of cosmogony and describe their way of life through their classical dance.
Nupa Pala – Manipuri Folk Dance
This Nupa Pala Manipuri dance is another Classical dance form of the Manipur people. This dance is also known as Cymbal Dance, the combined form of Dance and Music, and the dance movements are soft and serene. Gradually the dance movements increase. This classical dance was performed with only male dancers. The dancers wore snow-white ball-shaped large turbans, and all completed the dance by singing and dancing. They follow the music of Mridanga and the classical drum ‘Pung’. The Manipuri dance’s theme is adapted from Hindu Epics stories.
Ras Lila dances
Ras Lila is another Manipuri Dance form; the dances are famous and colourful. She is primarily performed in the temples before the deities throughout the night. Primarily this classical dance is performed on the nights of Basanta Purnima, Sarada Purnima, and Kartik Purnima at the temple of Shree Shree Govindajee in Imphal. The Ras Lila narrates the fond love of Radha for Lord Krishna as well as the sheer devotion of the Copies toward the Lord. The classical dance performance is in the form of solo, duet and group dances. The dancers wear colourful costumes, and the makeup attracts the spectators.