Guru Bipin Singh
(23 Aug. 1918 - 9 Jan. 2000)


Scholar, theoretician, guru, visionary........the contribution of Guru Bipin Singh to Manipuri is immense and varied. Till his death his was a life of endless work devoted to the understanding and enrichment of Manipuri dance. His disciples Kalavati Devi and the Jhaveri Sisters become the symbols of his Manipuri vision, carrying his message to all parts of the country and the world. Later Kalavati Devi was to become his partner in life and art. As great a scholar and a dance teacher, Guru Bipin Singh's genius for exploring and experimenting was always anchored in the twin pillars of tradition and its contemporary expression.

By classifying, analyzing and systematizing Manipuri dance he has created a repertoire which is highly classical and an excellent expression of Vaishnavism. Ever conscious of the need to answer contemporary sensibilities in an audience, while keeping the traditional verities intact, he set about composing short items and dance dramas suitable for the modern stage. His works were highly inspired by the graceful and dignified movements of Kartal Cholom and Pung Cholom.

Scholarly theorizing, writing commentaries, and anthologies on tala prabandhas (rich compositions) were all part of the guru’s contribution to Manipuri.

Never the one to be rigidly guided by the gender divide in Manipuri, which reserves the softer Ras dances for the female performers, while the leaps and jumps and cart wheeling of the Cholom dances are rendered only by male dancers, he taught both types of movements to his female disciples. He also made the girls learn how to play the Pung (traditional Manipuri drum) and the percussion demonstrations by his disciples formed the high note of the recitals given by his students.

One of the most graceful of movers himself, Guru Bipin Singh’s Manipuri was always a delight to watch and his lecture demonstrations will be remembered both for theoretical and practical knowledge they spouted.

Guru Bipin Singh was a recipient of numerous awards and titles. Some of the major ones were the prestigious title of ‘Nrityacharya’ conferred by the Maharaja of Manipur ‘Hanjaba’, the highest title given by the Maharaja of Manipur, National Sangeet Natak Akademi Award given by Late Smt. Indira Gandhi, West Bengal State Academy Award given by the West Bengal State Academy of Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts, Sharangdev Fellowship by Sur Singar Samsad, Uday Shankar Fellowship, Sangeet Shamala Award, ‘Ojha Ratna’ was conferred to him by the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Maha Sabha, Emeritus Fellowship by Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, Kalidas Samman given by the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Bhuwalka Award. No one will deny that he has given to the dance a fresh dimension by adding vitality to it.


Guru Kalavati Devi


Hailing from Manipur, in her we find a rare combination of a dancer, singer, Pung player (traditional Manipuri drum), teacher, choreographer and scholar. She has been trained in all the aspects of Manipuri dance and music from renowned gurus of Manipur like Khetritombi Devi, Aiga Kumari, Paka Singh and Guru Gambhini Devi. From 1955 she began her formal scientific training under Guru Bipin Singh.

She is at present one of the Directors of Manipuri Nartanalaya (the other one being Padmashree Darshana Jhaveri) and heads the Manipuri Dance Dept. at Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata.

See Living Legend

Darshana Jhaveri


The Jhaveri Sisters: Late Nayana, Ranjana, Suvarna and Darshana are the well known disciples of Guru Bipin Singh, who have devoted themselves completely for the propagation of Manipuri Dance. Padmashree Darshana Jhaveri is an accomplished dancer, scholar and teacher who is one of the Directors (besides Guru Kalavati Devi). She is the co-author of various books along with Guru Kalavati Devi and is the examiner and paper setter of Manipuri dance of various universities of India. She is a recipient of the prestigious title of ‘Padmashree’, the Vishwa Gurjari Award and the National Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.





Guru Bipin Singh
Guru Kalavati Devi
Jhaveri Sisters


  Guru Bipin Singh receiving the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award from the
 former Prime Minister of India , Smt Indira Gandhi