Manipur & Manipuri Dance

Manipur, the small North-eastern state of India is formed together by nine hills. It is an oval-shaped alluvial valley which tilts gradually towards the south. Manipur is best known today for its unique classical dance form, the Manipuri Dance. Of all the 7 classical dances of India, Manipuri is probably the most graceful for its soft, suitable, flowing body movements. Like most other classical Indian dance forms, Manipuri Dance also began in the temples and is still performed today in the temples as a part of rituals.

The dance form reflects the scenic beauty of the place, myths related to Manipur, the religion and social life of its people, the Manipuris.

The Manipuris had their own Tibeto-Burman religion till 17th century, but since 18th century with the advent of Vaishnavism (worship of Vishnu) in Manipur, the Manipuris adopted Vaishnavism as their religion and even today they maintain a unique harmony between the two religion in their daily lives. And the daily life is inseparable from dance and music as every occasion of their lives is incomplete without dance and music. Dance and Music are an integral part of lives of Manipuris.

The history of Manipuri dance is very old and dates back even before 33 AD with the creation of Heaven and Earth. The Classical Manipuri Dance has four aspects , namely Thang-ta (the rutualistic Martial Art-form of Manipur ) , Lai - Haraoba (the Tantric form) , Sankirtan (the collective prayer) and Rasleela (the divine love-play of Lord Krishna withRadha and gopis the milk-maids of Vrindavan) . The Thang-ta and Lai-Haraobatradition belong to Pre-Vaishnavite period of Manipur ie ,the period till 17th century , while Sankirtan and Rasleela belong to Vaishnavite period ,ie the period starting from 18th Century onwards" .



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