Another important classical dance of Northern India is
Manipuri, originating in Northeastern State of Manipur.
Principal items in Manipuri repertoire are Ras
dances, of which there are four main types, all of which
pertain to Krishna and are performed only by women and
Ras dances are essentially lyrical and carry extremely
lithe and sinuous movements and bends, with soft,
cushioned steps. Costumes and ornaments in Ras are
colorful and glittering.
Apart from the leisurely Ras dances, Manipuri tradition
also incorporates certain items, known as Choloms, which
are vigorous and which often display quick and sharp
movements and dexterous footwork.
Important in this category are Pung Cholom, danced by men
holding drums, and Kartal Cholom, performed by men or
women with cymbals in their hands.
Choloms are all part of Sankeertana of Manipuri, which is
tradition of singing and dancing directed towards
achieving communion with Lord.
Yet, another dance in Manipuri category is Lai Haraoba,
which consists of re-enactment of the story of a prince
and a princess, who symbolize ideal lovers in mythology of Manipuris.
Ras dances are performed only on certain fixed days in the
year, Lai Haraoba takes place in summer months, while
Choloms are presented in any time, but more particularly
on occasions of domestic or social importance, such as
birth of a son, wedding or funeral.
Principal performers of Manipuri are in Manipur, and these
are scores of them.
Among artistes of Manipuri, who are known to India, are
Jhaveri sisters, Ritha Devi and Singhajit Singh.