September 28, 2007
Indian dance recital features world-renowned performer
The world's foremost exponent of classical Manipuri dance, Darshana Jhaveri, will perform a free recital in Cubberley Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2.
A scholar and teacher as well as a dancer, Jhaveri is the youngest of the four internationally renowned Jhaveri sisters of Mumbai. For decades, she has worked to preserve, perpetuate and propagate the classicism of Manipuri dance by bringing the dances from the temples to the theater while maintaining their integrity. She has received many awards, including the Padmashri, awarded by the president of India.
Manipuri dance has its origins in the religious rites of Manipurliterally, the "jeweled land"a verdant state surrounded by mountains on the northeast border of India, near Myanmar.
Its origins are shrouded in legend: Krishna is said to have appeared in the dream of the king and shown him his divine dance. Perhaps that's why the Hindu deities Radha and Krishna are so often the main characters depicted in Manipuri dances. The Manipuri people are said to be the superhuman experts in music and dancethe Gandharvaswho are mentioned in the Indian religious epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
More provably, however, Manipuri dance began to take a recognizable form in the 15th century under the guidance of King Kyamba, and it developed under later kings.
The movements are characteristically delicate, lyrical and graceful. Unlike other Indian dance forms, the dancers' feet never fully strike the floorrather, the front part of the foot touches the floor first, for a gentler impression. The rounded movements avoid any jerks, sharp edges or straight lines, and give the dance an undulating and soft effect.
The event is organized by Stanford's Center for South Asia and Spicmacay Stanford, a group that seeks to conserve and promote an awareness of South Asian culture through a focus on the classical arts.