13 Facts About Manipuri dance


The Manipuri dance form is imbued with the devotional themes of Madhura Raas of Radha-Krishna and characterised by gentle eyes and soft peaceful body movements.

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The Manipuri dance form is based on Hindu scriptures of Vaishnavism and is exclusively attached to the worship of Radha and Krishna.

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Interestingly, at a time when other Indian classical dances were struggling to shake off the stigma of decadent crudity and disrepute, the Manipuri classical dance was a top favorite with girls of 'respectable' families.

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Manipuri dance composed three of the five types of Raas Leelas, the Maha Raas, the Basanta Raas and the Kunja Raas, performed at the Sri Sri Govindaji temple in Imphal during his reign and the Achouba Bhangi Pareng dance.

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The cultural discrimination was resisted and the Manipuri dance revived by Indian independence movement activists and scholars.

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Manipuri dance invited Guru Budhimantra Singh who had trained in Manipuri Raas Leela dance, as faculty to the Indian culture and studies center named Shantiniketan.

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Manipuri dance artists wear kolu necklaces on the neck and adorn the face, back, waist, hands and legs with round jewellery ornaments or flower garlands that flow with the dress symmetry.

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Costume tradition of the Manipuri dance celebrates its more ancient artistic local traditions, fused with the spiritual themes of prema bhava of Radha-Krishna found in the tenth book of the Bhagavata Purana.

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Musical accompaniment for Manipuri dance comes from a percussion instrument called the Pung, a singer, small (cymbals), sembong, harmonium, and wind instrument such as a flute.

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Women dance too as groups, such as in the Manipuri dance called Mandilla cholom, and these usually go with devotional songs and playing colorful tassels-string tied cymbals where one side represents Krishna and the other Radha.

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Manipuri dance comes in two categories - tandav and lasya (delicate dance for the dancers who play Radha and Gopis).

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The Manipuri dance features rounded soft movements of women, and occasional fast movements by male characters.

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Unlike the other classical dance forms of India, the Manipuri dance artists do not wear anklet bells and the footwork is subdued and gentle in the Manipuri style.

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