Bengali Association of NSW hosted a Manipuri Dance show at the Macquarie University Theatre on February 8. The show was performed by Manipuri Nartanalya, Kolkata. Large number of people from the Bengali community along with others attended the function.
It was a delightful evening full of entertainment and religious fervour. Manipuri dance is purely religious and it aims at spiritual experience. Movements of the body and feet and facial expressions in Manipuri dance are subtle and aim at devotion and grace.
Most talented and world renowned Manipuri dancer – Bimbavati Devi, led the Manipuri dance team.
Manipuri Nartanalya presented various Manipuri dances including the ‘Classical Manipuri Dance’ and ‘Devi – The Divine Core’ directed by Bimbavati Devi.
From the religious point of view and from the artistic angle of vision, Manipuri classical form of dance is claimed not only to be one of the modest, softest and mildest but the most meaningful dances of the world.
Manipuri dance is one of the major Indian classical dance forms. The cult of Radha and Krishna, particularly the raslila, is central to its themes but the dances, unusually, incorporate the characteristic symbols and double-headed drum of sankirtan into the visual performance”.
The dance portraying Lord Krishna stealing butter, famous with the name ‘Nani Churi was much appreciated by the audience.
The most obliging aspect of Manipuri culture is that, it has retained the ancient ritual based dances and folk dances along with the later developed classical Manipuri dance style.
The team of artists who performed included Bimbavati Devi, Parna Chakraborty, Arpita Saha,– Dancer, Srijan Chatterjee — Vocal and Brojen Singha – Drums.
Brojen Singha’s solo ‘Pung cholom’ (drum) performance left the audience spellbound. It was a complete power-pack performance with perfect moves.
In this dance form, dancers play the pung (i.e hand beaten drum) and at the same time they dance. They exercise these acrobatic effects without breaking the tempo or flow of music. The dance is marked by a gentle rhythm, which gradually builds up to a thunderous climax.
About Bimbavati Devi: The lead dancer
Bimbavati Devi is daughter of renowned classical Manipuri dancers, Guru Bipin Singh and Kalavati Devi. She was initiated into the world of dance and music at a very tender age.
She has performed in various prestigious dance programmes and festivals of India and abroad. Besides being a classical dancer par excellence, Bimbavati is engaged in contemporary choreographies based on Manipuri dance, experimenting with new idioms and thus trying to expand the vocabulary of movements, following the path shown by her father.
Some of the major performances of Bimbavati in India include performance at Khajuraho Festival, Konarak Festival, Swami Haridas Sangeet Sammelan, Vrindavan Sharadotsav, Uday Shankar Festival, Nishagandhi Festival, Vishwa Banga Sammelan, Soorya Festival, Kal-Ke-Kalakar, Ghungroo Festival, Temple Festival, Dances of India Festival, programmes organized by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), India International Centre (IIC – New Delhi), India Habitat Centre (New Delhi).
She has travelled and performed vastly throughout the world. Her international presentations include performance at ‘Asia Festival in Helsinki (Finland)’, ‘Nehru Center in London’ (England), ‘Banga Sammelan in Lowell’, ‘Festival of India organized by the Asian Dance and Music Program’, ‘University of Massachusetts programme organized by the Musee Guimet (National Museum of Asian Arts), Paris, workshops and lecture demonstrations at North Dakota State University, University of Massachusetts, National University of Singapore, Programmes and workshops organized by well known dance organizations of USA, UK, Canada, Singapore, and Australia.
She has received many awards for her performances. She is a recipient of Senior National Scholarship in Manipuri Dance from the Department of Culture, Government of India, recipient of Junior National Fellowship in Manipuri dance from the Department of Culture, Govt. of India., Title of Shringar Mani conferred by Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai, Recipient of Nandita Kripalini Award from West Bengal State Academy of Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts, Govt. of West Bengal, Empanelled artiste of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (I.C.C.R), Govt. of India, Sanskriti Award given by Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of Delhi on behalf of the prestigious Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi in 2004 for being one of the upcoming and promising dancers and choreographers, Aditya Birla Kala Kiran Puraskar 2007 conferred by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Vilasrao Deshmukh on behalf Sangeet Kala Kendra, Mumbai, Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2008 from Sangeet Natak Academy, Govt. of India.
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