Manipuri. What is it?
Also known as Jagoi, Manipuri has its origin from the state Manipur bordering with Assam, Nagaland, Myanmar, and Mizoram and is named after this state. This dance form is inspired from the love story of Radha-Krishna that is why it is called love inspired dance drama which is called Rassleela.
In my previous post, I gave information about Sattriya dance as a form of Indian Classical dance. Now I will be providing Detailed information about Manipuri dance.
Being one of the major classical dance forms this dance form also has its root from the Sanskrit text Natyashastra. It mainly aims expression of spiritual ideas and it is a religious art of performance. According to the ancient Sanskrit texts such as the Mahabharata epic mentions Manipur, where Arjuna meets and falls in love with Chitragada. This dance form is called Jagoi in a major Meitei language of the region and it traces a long tradition in Manipur.
This dance form involves delicate, lyrical and graceful movements. The female performers of this dance form feature soft and sensuous movements whereas the male performers feature fast movements occasionally.
The basic movement of this dance form Rass is Chali or Chari. As Manipuri is a team performance dance drama which features the Rassleela, “Gopies” are also the part of the dance along with Radha and Krishna. It is believed that when Krishna and Radha used to do Rassleela at that times Gopies also used to surround them and dances on the Murli(flute ) played by Krishna. This dance form is based on this story.
Costume and attire of Manipuri dancers.
It is one of those dance forms which have a really unique and beautiful costume. The women character is dressed like a Manipur bride, she wears a “Kumli”, It is beautifully and elaborately decorated Barrel shaped skirt stiffened at the bottom and closed to the top, This kumli is decorated with silver and gold embroidery and small glass pieces which increases its beauty. The upper body is covered with a plain velvet blouse and the head is covered with the translucent white veil. Unlike performers of other classical dance form, Dancers of this dance form do not wear bells(Ghungroos) in their ankle. The artists adorn their face, neck, waist, hands, and legs with round jewelry ornaments and flower jewelry.
The male dancer wears dhotra(Dhoti) which is brilliantly colored and is tucked tightly to the waist allowing the free leg movements. Also, the performer who plays the character of Krishna wears Morepankh(peacock feather) on the head.