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Manipuri Dance

Manipuri is the classical dance from the north East Indian state of Manipur. Its themes are devotional and are performed on religious occasions and in temples throughout the area. It is even often referred to as "sankirtan". The term Manipuri actually covers a number of dance forms from the region. The most important being the Ras Lila and the Pung Cholom.Today, Manipur has an evolved and sophisticated repertoire of martial dances, the dancers use swords, spears and shields. Real fight scenes between the dancers show an extensive training and control of the body. Manipuri dance incorporates both the tandava and lasya and ranges from the most vigorous masculine to the subdued and graceful feminine. Generally known for its lyrical and graceful movements, Manipuri dance has an elusive quality.

The traditional Manipuri dance style embodies delicate, lyrical and graceful movements. The aim is to make rounded movements and avoid any jerks, sharp edges or straight lines. It is this which gives Manipuri dance its undulating and soft appearance.

The foot movements are viewed as part of a composite movement of the whole body. The dancer puts his or her feet down, even during vigorous steps, with the balls of the feet touching the ground first. The ankle and knee joints are effectively used as shock absorbers which is again very crucial. With the help of professional trainers one can effectively learn these techniques and avoid any chances of physical injuries.

The dancer?s feet are neither put down nor lifted up at the precise rhythmic points of the music but rather slightly earlier or later to express the same rhythmic points most effectively. Imbibing this art may require tremendous practice and dedication but with the correct training and outlook one can learn and benefit from learning this art.

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