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Dance drama fest gets under way in Manipur academy

Dance drama Ghana Baari Barikhata being staged on Thursday. – Photo: Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, Jan 17 - A three-day festival of dance drama has been under way at the auditorium of the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy (JNMDA) here.

 The festival began on Wednesday under the aegis of the JNMDA on the occasion of 43 years of its production unit. The dance drama carnival is featuring the best three productions of three prominent dance groups – JNMDA, Imphal, Manipuri Jagoi Marup and Manipuri Nartanalaya, Kolkata.

The JNMDA was established in 1954 under the patronage of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the first national institution of its kind in India for Manipuri dance. When Nehru visited Manipur in 1952, he saw a performance comprising dances like Manipuri, Naga and others.

Manipur is best introduced to the world through her rich performing arts and culture and not by her geographical position and size. It is through the Manipuri dance that the world has known the existence of such a tiny State in this far-flung North Eastern part of the country.

At present, the JNMDA conducts various dances and martial arts courses such as Raas, Lai Haraoba, Nata-Sankirtana (Ishei), Nata-Sankirtana (Cholom), Nata-Sankirtana (Pung), tribal dance and Thang-ta.

A dance drama called Ghana Baari Barikhata by Manipuri Nartanalaya, Kolkata, was staged on the second day of the festival this evening after a dance drama, Shakuntala, was performed by the JNMDA, Imphal, on the opening day on Wednesday. Shakuntala was choreographed by late W Lokendrajit Singh.

Another dance drama, Maan Vikshya, by Manipuri Jagoi Marup, Imphal, will be staged on the concluding day of the festival tomorrow.

The inaugural function was attended by Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla, who is also the chairperson of the JNMDA. It was presided over by its vice chairman Prof H Tombi Singh.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Heptulla said she was privileged to get the opportunity to witness Shakuntala choreographed by late W Lokendrajit Singh on the occasion of completion of 43 years of the production unit of the JNMDA.

The Governor reiterated that Manipuri dance is not the art of Manipur alone, it is also the art of India as a whole. “Hence, its development is as important as the development of other aspects of our total cultural heritage,” Dr Heptulla added.

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