The mild autumn winds were appearing of spring on Tuesday, when fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi , Padma Shree awardee Rajkumar Singhajit Singh – with his wife Charu Sija Mathur – in the different components of “Raasleela”, innovatively combined pung players, khartal cholom rhythm and dance by the group at Suncity Global School (Sector 54) here.
The coalescing and dispersing of the group were neatly managed. While performing the ‘Vasant-raas’, the Gopikas under the kadamba tree yearn for Krishna, mistaking the cuckoo’s cry for his flute. The Gita Govinda lines “Viharati Haririha Sarasa Basante” moved into Manipuri language as the Utkanthita, Khandita and Kalahantarita Nayika, and then again to Jayadeva’s “Priye Charusheele”, the final surrender in “Dehi Pada Pallavamudaram.” Rallying round Charu Sija as Radha was a group of proficient graceful dancers. The excellent singing added to the totality. It was an enthralling performance and the students of school enjoyed it thoroughly as well as learnt about the culture of Northeastern state. The children were excited to watch the energetic performances by the artists.
Nobody could have realized the ordeal of the Manipuri troupe – having to don their costumes and regalia, sans any rehearsal on the large performance area during their ‘pung cholam’ ballet – choreographed by Singhajit. Immaculate group spacing, co-ordination, and beautifully profiled central half-moon stance, involved half a dozen performers, losing themselves in the dance, exuding an aura, permeating the large space.
While giving the brief of all the ballets separately, Singh said that ‘pung cholam’ was the only form of classical dance, where the dancer himself or herself beats the drum. “In the ancient times, women used to head the all the sacred works in Manipur and most of our art performances prove it that women were the medium of divinity there,” said the veteran artist.
With an aim to create awareness and appreciation of Indian culture, the noted Manipuri danseuse-duo Padmashree Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Charu Sija Mathur and their group, had performed and spellbound the crowd at Suncity World School. “It was really a great show – blended both with entertainment and information. We have always shown our determination in ensuring the multi-dimensional development of our students,” said Principal Ms Rupa Chakravarty.
What made the show more subdued and aesthetic was the presence of nearly 25 knowledgeable students from France. They had been here as a part of Cultural Exchange Program, to get an insight of Indian Classical music and folk dance.
“It was an amazing experience to witness the charismatic Manipuri dancers at our school. I was totally thrilled and taken aback by their performance. I not only enjoyed the performances but had a lot of learning’s about the Manipuri culture and dance forms.” Vir Malik, student of Suncity School
Guru Rajkumar Singhajit Singh hails from the family of dancers and musicians in Manipur. As pioneer of Manipuri ballet he has choreographed fifty-five ballets and numerous dance compositions which have received international acclaim. He has received Padma Shri, Fellow of Sangeet Nakak Akademi, Kalidas Samman, Delhi Sahitya Kala Paridhad Award, Fellow of Manipur State Kala Academy, Manipuri Sahitya academy Award and Nritya Choodamani from Chennai.