Inspiring dancers through ages

Inspiring dancers through ages

For a devoted artist his art is not a means to an end but is an end in itself,” shares Guru Singhajit Singh. A Sangeet Natak Akademi fellow and the recipient of the Padam Shri Award, Singh adds, “I find happiness in my art and have turned down some very important dance related administrative jobs which would have given me better social security. I live to dance and not dance to live.”

 Devoted to Manipuri dance forms like ‘Pung Cholom’ and ‘Rasila’, the octogenarian shares, “Strict physical and mental discipline has kept me going without realising that time has gone by so fast. Whenever a new creative challenge appears we are as young as needed.”

The leading guru  and chorographer recently performed at the Lalit Arpan Festival, where his dance was based on one of the ashta nayikas – ‘Vipralabdha’, the one deceived by her lover, along with his wife and dancer Charu Sija Mathur.

While he has collaborated with other dancers of different styles to produce some great works, new projects are always subject to availability of funds. “As creative artistes, new projects are always in our minds but translating them into works of art is becoming a problem without adequate funds. Classical dance groups cannot be financially self supporting,” he adds.

Talking about the popularity of Manipuri dance forms, Singh says, “The question of response to Manipuri dance immediately takes one to cross cultural perception; one cannot read all languages with the same pair of glasses. Manipuri aesthetics are quite different from those of other parts of India which proves to be an impediment when it comes to the general response to the style.”

But he adds that Manipuri drum dance and martial arts are extremely popular all over the world while slower and graceful ‘Jajoi’ aspect is slow in circulation. “The present craze for sound and fury in performing arts is also taking its toll on serious art.

However, in Manipur the young generation is getting more interested in their traditional arts and dance institutions cannot cope with the number of applications for admission,” he explains. He shares in order to pursue this dance form, young dancers have to find the best possible teachers and train mercilessly until it becomes an addiction.

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