Imphal celebrates Chhau Parva

Imphal, Mar. 30: Chhau Parva, the first national festival of Chhau dances, brought cheer to community of Chhau dancers; it brilliantly blended the three styles of dance forms narrating the concept of the trinity of Hindu mythology – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

The three day dance festival kick started on Saturday in Imphal.

In ancient times, the majestic martial dance of Chhau grew under royal patronage. It was confined to the three sister states of undivided Bihar-Bengal-Orissa.

Chhau dance form would not have survived but for the dedication of the heirs of the three distinct traditions – Sareikalla, Purilia and Mayurbhanj representing the three states respectively – who were willing to starve but continue dancing for their commitment to their legacy.

The festival is being held for the first time in Manipur and is organized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama in association with Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur dance Academy, Manipur.

Director of Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy (JNMDA) Upendro Sharma gave insight about the Chhau dance form is all about.

“Chhau is a strong tradition of martial arts, in three states namely Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal and these are very unique dance form which is you know exhibited in these areas and they started from the early age,” he said.

He added that the purpose of the festival was to preserve and promote this rare dance form.

The festival was inaugurated by the Governor of Manipur Vinod Kumar Duggal in the presence of Vice Chairman of JNMDA N. Tombi Singh and Director Sharma himself. On the opening day, six dance performances were presented.

Over 100 artists will be showcasing their talent in the festival. Audiences were left mesmerized by their performances.

“This is very nice to see, their body movement and rhythmic items, it is very nice to see,” Kriti Singh, an audience member said.

The Chhau Dance is usually performed during the regional festivals. Believed to be based on martial arts, ‘Chhau’ derives more than two third of its technique from the gaits and flights of birds and animals and a few others describe the daily chores of a woman.

The ‘Purulia Chhau’ of Bengal, the ‘Seraikella Chhau’ of Bihar and the ‘Mayurbhanj Chhau’ of Orissa are the three forms of ‘Chhau’ named after the district or village they are performed.

‘Chhau’ dance enacts epics, giving it a religious touch. It provides a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage, religious, ethnic and regional diversity of the country.

The dance is performed by male dancers who belong to the families of traditional artists or local communities to traditional and folk music, played on the reed pipes Mohuri and Shehnai. The music is followed by a diversity which includes the Dhol, Dhumsa and Kharka or Chad-Chadi

The usage of masks is one of the unique characteristic of ‘Chhau’. (ANI)