Manipuri is the traditional dance of Manipur. The Manipuris
are considered descendants of Gandarva, the legendary
musicians and dancers in the celestial court of Lord Indira. The
origin of the word Manipuri can be traced to the legends.
According to the legend, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are
said to have danced in the valleys of Manipur, accompanied by
the Gandharvas to the celestial light of the Mani or jewel from
the head of the serpent Athishesha.
Manipuri lays emphasis in involving the entire body in the dance
other than the facial expression. The principal dance item in
Manipuri is Ras, which depicts bhakti rasa. The innumerable
escapes of Lord Krishna are depicted in Ras. This form of
dance lays emphasis on lyrical grace and delicacy of hand gestures.
The Chooloms is another form of Manipuri, which includes vigorous tandava
items and fast rhythms. Choolams involves singing and dancing, directed towards achieving
the union of god. In Choolams, Poong Choolam is danced by
men holding drums, and Kartal Choolam by both men and
women using cymbals in their hands.
Odissi is the traditional dance of the state of Orissa. Originally,
this form of dance was performed in the temples as a religious
offering, by the Devadasis. Odissi is a dance of divine, human,
love and passion. The performance is soft and lyrical depicting
the ambience of Orissa and the philosophy of the popular Hindu
God, Lord Krishna. Most of the poses of this form of dance are
inspired by the temple carvings of Orissa. The dresses worn by
the dancers are similar to the sculptures. The dancers wear
colorful costumes and traditional silver jewellery. Elaborate
ornaments are worn specially on the hips.
Odissi is based on the popular devotion to Lord Krishna and the
verses of the Sanskrit play Geet Govindam are used to depict
the love and devotion to God. Odissi presents a synthesis of
Lasya and Tandava aspects of the Indian Classical Dance.
Odissi dance performance involves a balance between pure
dance, expressional dance and a combination of acting and dance.