My letter for the Day is ‘M’
Today, we will talk about India’s one of the popular classical dance forms. The origin of this dance form is ‘Manipur’. Yes, I am talking about ‘Manipuri Dance’. Generally, the love inspired drama of ‘Radha & Krishna’ called Raslila is the main theme of this dance. Apart from that Shaivism, Shaktism these are also performed by the dancers.
Manipuri dance has its root in ‘Natya Shastra’, an age old Sanskrit Hindu text. In ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’, where the native dance experts of Manipur are referred as ‘Gandharvas’. So the dancers think themselves descendants of Gandharvas who were fabulous dancers and musicians in Lord Indra’s holy courts.
The dancers perform this dance to show complete religious zeal, poise and sublime beauty through their moves and gestures.
How to perform this dance?
The Manipuri dance form symbolizes delicate, graceful movements. Dancers always make round movements, no jerks and straight lines. It can be performed in solo, duet and group dance too. The dancers perform different steps and weave patterns to show the uniformed choreographic performance.
In Manipuri Dance, the following musical instruments are used:
Pung (a barrel drum), a singer, small kartals (cymbals), sembong, harmonium, a stringed instrument called the pena and wind instrument such as a flute.
The Manipuri dance costume has some unique features. The female dancers are dressed like Manipuri Bride, in Potloi costumes. The women wear a barrel shaped long skirt stiffened at the bottom and loose on the top. This is called ‘Kumil’. This skirt is embellished with gold and silver embroidery, mirror work and border prints of lotus, Kwaklei orchid etc.
The Kumil is bordered at the top with undulant thin translucent top skirt shaped like an open flower; it is tied in Trikasta (three places) around the waist (front, back and one side) with spiritual symbolism of the ancient Hindu texts. The upper part of the body is dressed in velvet blouse and head covered in a white translucent veil. Like other classical dancers, they do not wear ankle belt.
They adorn the face, neck, waist, hands and legs with round jewelry ornaments or flower garlands that flow with the dress symmetry.
The male characters wear dhoti (also called dhotra or dhora). It is broadcloth pleated, wrapped and tied at waist and allowing the dancers for comfortable leg movements. The Krishna character wears a peacock feather containing crown, with a feathery attachment at the back.
Sharing here some videos of Manipuri Dance:
See what dance form I have shared for the letter ‘L’
What will be my next dance form for the letter ‘N’?
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