The Celestial Dancers: Manipuri Dance on Australian Stage

English | 2022 | ISBN: 1032069449 | 163 pages | PDF | 8.93 MB

The Celestial Dancers: Manipuri Dance on Australian Stage charts the momentous journey of the popularization of Manipur’s Hindu dances in Australia.
Tradition has it that the people of Manipur, a northeastern state of India, are descended from the celestial gandharvas, dance and music blessed among them as a God’s gift. The intricately symbolic Hindu dances of Manipur in their original religious forms were virtually unseen and unknown outside India until an Australian impresario, Louise Lightfoot, brought them to the stage in the 1950s. Her experimental changes through a pioneering collaboration with dancers Rajkumar Priyagopal Singh and Ibetombi Devi modernized Manipuri dance for presentation on a global stage. This partnership moved Manipur’s Hindu dances from the sphere of ritualistic temple practice to a formalized stage art abroad. Amit Sarwal chronicles how this movement, as in the case of other prominent Indian classical dances and dancers, enabled both Manipuri dance and dancers to gain recognition worldwide.