Friday, 28 October 2016

Rabindrik Nritya & Bishnupriya Manipuri

The first thing every other Bengali child has done in life is to act on Tagore's song, drama or any other musicals. Be it Geeti Natyas, Nrtiya Natyas or Rabindrik Solo or group dance. It is inevitable that the aura of Rabindrik Nritya is different. The dance movements are soft, lyrical and very calm to watch. I know, every other dance students would know about it but today while going through some articles on Tagore, found some interesting facts which I would love to share here.

It is not unknown to us that Tagore's dance is highly influenced by Manipuri Dance. Rabindrik Nritya's movements are much similar to Manipuri dance. Be it from the hand gestures (aveyshita, udbeyshita, bee-ah-ber-tita, parivartita) or the feet movements (gliding movements of feet where toe is highly used). It is true that Rabindrik nrityas are being choregraphed in much creative way now-a-days but Viswa Bharati still shows the traditional Rabindrik Nritya where we can find the Manipuri influence in much eminent way. 

Rabindranath Tagore was influenced from Manipuri culture since he visited Tripura and met the king Virchandra Manikya and his Manipuri wife, queen Monomohini Devi. This influence was visible in Bhanusingher Padabali. Later when Tagore visited one of the Bishnupriya Manipuri culture village of Machimpur in Assam in the year of  1919 on 6th of November,Let me tell you before, Bishnupriya Manipuri is an Indian language spoken mostly in Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Sylhet (Bangladesh) & Burma. he was welcomed by the village people. The warm reception of the local residents impressed him. Over that he was much impressed to see manipuri dance composition (Goshtha Lila) presented by the Manipuri women. After seeing the live demonstration he was keen to learn more about the culture. He needed someone who could communicate with him in Bengali as well as enrich him more in Manipuri culture. He met manipuri Oja (dance teacher) Mr. Tarun Singha who later introduced him to Guru Nileswar Mukherjee of Baligaon. Tagore later brought him to Visva Bharati to teach Manipuri Dance in Shantiniketan. He opened a new department for Manipuri Dance meanwhile. Later many other Bishnupriya Manipuri teachers joined Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan and assisted Tagore to choreograph various dance-dramas. Few noted names are : Guru Senarik Rajkumar, Nabakumar Singha, Muhu Singha, Guru Bipin Singha, Sri Bihari Singha and Sri Adityasena Rajkumar . After that period Manipuri dance took special place in Shantiniketan and gradually got blended with Tagore's creations. In fact, Manipuri dance was not much practiced before compared to other classical dance forms. But this tender dance form melted Tagore's heart is such a way, that we can not hold ourselves back from giving all credits to him for introducing such elegant dance forms to other parts of India. Later many Oja or Danseuse came over to Shantiniketan for teaching this Dance form. 

The most popular dance drama Chitrangada, is so much focussed on Manipur that in each rendition we can find how much Tagore was influenced by Manipuri culture.


Chitrangada - Dance Drama

Gurudev with Drama participants

information sources :,,

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  1. Seems like a lovely cultural event, Thank you for sharing some great pictures

    xoxo - Chaicy
    Style.. A Pastiche! -

    1. Thank you so much for leaving comment and reading the article


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