Forms Of Dance Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 17 February 2017

Forms Of Dance

Manipuri dance originates from Manipur, a state in north-eastern India on the border with Burma. In Manipur ,this form developed its own specific aesthetics, values, conventions and ethics. The cult of Radha andKrishna, particularly the “raslila” (a form of the traditional story of Krishna described in Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana and literature such as the Gita Govinda, where he dances with Radha and her sakhis. ) , is central to its themes but the dances, unusually, incorporate the characteristic symbols (kartal or manjira) and double-headed drum (pung or Manipurimrdanga) of sankirtan into the visual performance.

Guru Naba Kumar, Guru Bipin Singh,Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, his wife Charu Sija Mathur, Darshana Jhaveri are some of the prominent exponents of this classical dance form. Manipuri dance associates itself a lot to religion and it aims for spiritual experience. Development of music and dance has through religious festivals and daily activities of the Manipuri people.

According to the legend, the indigenous people of the Manipur valley were the dance-expert Gandharvas mentioned in the Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Not only is dance a medium of worship and enjoyment, a door to the divine, but indispensable for all socio-cultural ceremonies. 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 most chastest, modest, softest and mildest but the most meaningful dances of the world. 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.

Among the classical categories, ‘Ras Leela’ – a highly evolved dance drama, choreographed on ‘Vaishnavite Padavalis’ composed by mainly eminent Bengali poets and some Manipuri Gurus, is the highest expression of artistic genius, devotion and excellence of the Manipuris. [2] Features of the dance 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. 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. The musical accompaniment for Manipuri dance comes from a percussion instrument called thePung, a singer, small cymbals, a stringed instrument called the pena and wind instrument such as aflute.

The drummers are always male artistes and, after learning to play the pung, students are trained to dance with it while drumming. This dance is known as Pung cholom. The lyrics used in Manipuri are usually from the classical poetry of Jayadeva, Vidyapati, Chandidas, Govindadas or Gyandas and may be in Sanskrit, Maithili, Brij Bhasha or others. Mohiniyattam The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words “Mohini” meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and “aattam” meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word “Mohiniyattam” literally means “dance of the enchantress”.

There are two stories of the Lord Vishnu disguised as a Mohini. In one, he appears as Mohini to lure the asuras (demons) away from the amrita (nectar of immortality) obtained during the churning of the palazhi (ocean of milk and salt water). In the second story Vishnu appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura. The name Mohiniyattam may have been coined after Lord Vishnu; the main theme of the dance is love and devotion to God, with usually Vishnu or Krishna being the hero. Devadasis used to perform this in temples.

It also has elements of Koothu and Kottiyattom. Mohiniyattam is a drama in dance and verse. Features of Mohiniattam The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of erect posture from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound Kerala, the land of Mohiniyattam. There are approximately 40 basic movements, known asatavukal. Like many other Indian dance forms the aspects of Mohiniyattam can be divided mainly into two- Nritha (pure dance ) and Nrithya (expository dance). When a child starts learning Mohiniyattam she /he starts first with the Nritha (pure dance).

Mandalams Basic posture of the feet is considered as one of the most important aspects of many of the dance forms. In Mohiniyattam the basic posture is known as Aramandalam. In Thiruvathirakali (a groupe dance form of Kerala women which is very closely related to Mohiniyattam)this is known as vattakkalil thanu nilkuka (means bend your leg and stand. ). Most of the Atavus –the basic dance units –begin from this basic position. Eventhough Aramandalam is the most important one , based upon the level of the knees there are five such stances in Mohiniyattam. These are the Sama mandalam,Aramandalam.

,Muzhumandalam,Mukkalmandalam and Kaalmandalam. •Standing erect without bending the knees is called Samamandalam. •The knees should be bent and spread apart to form the shape of a pot Reuben. This is known as Aramandalam. (Vattakkal). The feet for Aramandalam should be set flat on the floor about two and a half inches apart,the right foot turned to the right corner and the left foot, to the left. The distance between the toes being about twelve inches. •The third one is called Muzhumandalam. In this the knees should bent and spread apart,the toes alone would touch the ground and the danseuse should sit on her heels,producing a squatting stance.

•When the knees are positioned between Muzhumandalam and Aramandalam it is called Mukkalmandalam. (the word ‘mukkal’ means three forth ). •When the knees are positioned in between Aramandalam and Samamandalam it is called as Kaalmandalam. (the word ‘Kal’ in Malayalam means one fourth). Atavus : Atavus are the basic units ,which are sub-divisions of the pure dance in Mohiniyattam. These are created combining hand gestures, body movements, mandalam-s, footwork, and Chari-s.

When Mohiniyattam is taught, to ensure that the pupile develops graceful body control, it is these Atavu-s, that are practisied in the first few years of training. Atavus have been grouped into Taganam, Jaganam, Dhaganam and Sammisram. The grouping has been done acccording to the Vaythari-s(syllables) used. Unlike in Bharathanatyam, in Mohiniyattam when these Atavus are choreographed with beautiful patterns and rhythm to create beauty or to support the bhava(mood) the Vaythari-s (syllables )are always used in a raga.

Kuchipudi Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and also the surname of the resident Brahmins practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name. Kuchipudi flourished as a dramatic form of dance for hundreds of years. It was held in high esteem by the rules of the Deccan. For instance Tana Shah in 1678 granted the lands around Kuchipudi to the Brahmins who performed the dance.

Modern Kuchipudi acquired its present form in the 20th century. A number of people were responsible for moving it from the villages to the performance stage. One of the most notable was guru Lakshminarayan Shastry. After him, a number of other luminaries would mould it into its present shape. Some notable names are Vempati Chinna Satyam, C.

R. Acharyalu, and Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna. Features The songs in Kuchipudi are mimed with alluring expressions, swift looks and fleeting emotions evoking the rasa. In Tarangam at times she places a pot full of water on her head and dances on the brass plate. The song accompanying this number is from the well known Krishna Leela Tarangini, a text which recounts the life and events of Lord Krishna In expressional numbers a dancer sometimes chooses to enact the role of Satyabhama, the proud and self-assured queen of Lord Krishna, from the dance-drama Bhama Kalapam.

She goes through various stages oflove. When in separation from Lord Krishna, she recalls the happy days of union and pines for him. At last they are reunited when she sends him a letter. One more number from the Kuchipudi repertoire that deserves mention is Krishna Shabdam, in which a milkmaid invites Krishna for a rendezvous in myriads of ways giving full scope for the dancer to display the charms of a woman Kuchipudi is as ancient as Natyastra (1st century BC)in which mention is made of a dance drama form besides solo.

An invocatory verse also indicates that four forms of dance were prevalent then, of which ‘Dakshintya’ or South Indian form is apparently the earliest version of Kuchipudi. There is also historical evidence that the art flourished during the reign of the Satavahanas (2nd century BC). Over the centuries as the performances were dedicated to the worship of Vishnu, the form came to be known as Bhagavata Mela Natakam. It was during Siddhendra Yogi’s time (14th – 15th century) that it came to be known as Kuchipudi, named after the village established by Siddhendra Yogi where his follower, the Brahmin performers settled down.

The Guinness World Record Over 2,800 Kuchipudi dancers, including 200-plus natyagurus created a Guinness World Records on December 26, 2010 performing Hindolam Thillana at the GMC Balayogi Stadium in Hyderabad. The spectacular show performed by dancers from 15 countries and every state was staged in praise of Kuchipudi choreographer Siddhendhra Yogi. The 11-minutes programme was part of the concluding ceremony of the three-day second International Kuchipudi Dance Convention. Dances Analysis Manipuri :

The history and development of Manipuri dance is interesting. It is said that King Khuyoi Tompok was a great patron of the arts and developed Manipuri in the 2nd century AD. However, it is not very likely that this early form of Manipuri had much in common with contemporary forms. From the 18th Century onwards, the history of Manipuri dance style can be traced accurately. Manipuri dance originates in the north eastern state of Manipur. It is considered as the youngest among the classical Indian dances. Presently it is comparatively free in movements and limited to the literary word and the rigidity of the tala only. It is spontaneous and apparently flows with ease.

Manipuri dance is the manifestation of a deep ritualistic tradition combined with vitality. Current form of the dance : The present form and repertoire of the dance is attributed to King Bhagyachandra Maharaja. He saw in his dream Lord Krishna and the Gopis performing the divine dance. The rasa dances and the present costumes of Manipuri are attributed to the King`s dream. The manuscripts provide convincing evidence to the unparallel contribution of this King to the modern Manipuri dance.

The king wrote a manual on dance called the Govinda Sangita Lila Vilas. It lays down clearly thescop e of this dance style. Mohiniyattam : Mohiniyattam originated in the 16th century . It was popularised as a popular dance form in the nineteenth century by Swathi Thirunal, the Maharaja of the state of Travancore (Southern Kerala), and Vadivelu, one of the Thanjavur Quartet. Swathi Thirunal promoted the study of Mohiniyattam during his reign, and is credited with the composition of many music arrangements and vocal accompaniments that provide musical background for modern Mohiniyattam dancers. It was resurrected in AD 1930, when Mahakavi Vallathol founded Kerala Kalamandalam.

He included Mohiniyattam, along with Kathakali in his plan to resuscitate ancient Kerala art forms. The first dance teacher of Mohiniyattam in Kalamandalam was Kalyaniamma. She was an expert in Mohiniyattam and taught in Kalamandalam for 3 years from 1933. Then she went to Calcutta, at the request of the great poet, RavindranathTagore to teach dancing in his school Shantiniketan. Krishna PanikerAsan, the Nattuvan of Mohiniyattam succeeded Kalyaniamma as teacher in Kalamandalam. Now in Kerala, Mohiniyattam has regained its former standard (respectfulness).

Even maidens from noble families consider training in Mohiniyattam as a desirable accomplishment. Even foreigners arrive to undergo training in this art form. Kuchipudi : Bharata Muni who wrote the Natya Shastra about 3000 years ago had explained various aspects of this dance form. The impetus to kuchipudi was given by Sidhendra Yogi later in the 13th century. Siddhendra Yogi redefined the dance form . A dance form now becoming internationally renowned because of Yamini Krishnamurthy, Swapnasundari, and Radha and Raja Reddy. Kuchipudi is as ancient as Natya astra (1st century BC)in which mention is made of a dance drama form besides solo.

An invocatory verse also indicates that four forms of dance were prevalent then, of which ‘Dakshintya’ or South Indian form is apparently the earliest version of Kuchipudi. There is also historical evidence that the art flourished during the reign of the Satavahanas (2nd century BC). Over the centuries as the performances were dedicated to the worship of Vishnu, the form came to be known as Bhagavata Mela Natakam. It was during Siddhendra Yogi’s time (14th – 15th century) that it came to be known as Kuchipudi, named after the village established by Siddhendra Yogi where his follower, the Brahmin performers settled down.

Kuchipudi is still prevalent as a traditional dance form in most parts of Andhra Pradesh and there seems to be very minimal signs of threat to the decline in this specific dance form .

References : http://www. chintha. com/keralam – Mohiniattam and its features http://www. webindia123. com/dances/mohiniyattam http://avijitdasdance. wordpress. com/ – Kuchipudi and its traditional forms http://m. outlookindia. com/story. aspx/? sid=4&aid=210636 – Kuchipudi’s decline http://www. indianetzone. com/16/origin_manipuri_dance. htm – Manipuri dance history.

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