“A lyrical folk drama” would be the ideal way to describe a dance style belonging to central India called Maanch. This “folk dance” has its origins in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and is said to be extremely popular in the Malwa region. Apparently, it is said that this style of dancing was first developed during the 17th century. Furthermore, this dance form can also be described either as “Indian ballet or Indian Opera”. In addition, this dance style was developed using a play called “Genda Pari” i.e. Fairy of the Marigold Flower as the template.

a. History/origin of the Maanch:

This dance style is said to have been developed during the 17th century by Guru Balmokhand. It was apparently using one of his plays titled “Genda Pari” as a template that “Maanch” (which means “stage upon which artists perform”) was eventually created from.

b. Costumes used in the Maanch:

The costume worn by performers (mainly male) includes costumes that are colourful along with some jewellery.

c. Music involved in the Maanch:

The musical instruments used in this dance style mainly include the dholak and the sarangi.

d. Training availability and the dance technique involved in the Maanch:

This dance form is basically performed on a stage which is approximately “30 feet in length and 20 feet in breadth”. In terms of technique, a performer combines body movements with the reciting of dialogues in this form of dancing. Furthermore, a Maanch performance is always started on an auspicious note with the invocation of god/goddess such as Lord Ganesh and Goddess Saraswati via recital of holy verses that sing their praises.  In addition, this dance also involves a “Chopdar” who basically announces the theme of dance before the performance begins. It also includes a “Farrasan” who carpets the stage, and a Bhisti who sprinkles water on stage before the performance.  As for training centres / schools, there are none available in the state or in the country, since this is essentially a folk dance that has been passed on from one generation to another within the community living in the Malwa region in Madhya Pradesh.

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