ITC Royal, Kolkata
In Manipur, dance is not just a form of art, but a way of life. Dance is a medium of expression, which is so closely interwoven with the social fabric of the Manipuri Society that it is impossible to study one without the other. Priti Patel has through her efforts tried to preserve the essence and authenticity of Manipuri dance through her system of instruction. She was initiated into the world of dance at the early age by eminent Manipuri dance gurus, Late Guru Bipin Singh and The Jhaveri Sisters. Through the rigorous training she underwent under her Gurus, specially Smt. Darshana Jhaveri she excelled as a danseuse in this form of dance and especially in the Vaishnavite Ras Leela form of the Manipuri dance tradition. However her quest for mastery and perfection made her delve more into the study of this unique dance tradition. She took lessons in the pre-Vaishnavite dance forms of ‘Thang-ta’ ( the martial art form of the Manipuri dance tradition), and ‘Lai Haraoba’ (a ritualistic dance form of the Manipuri tradition) . In this quest for knowledge, she was imparted extensive training by her guru Padmashri Lt. Ojha Babu Singh and Ojha Thoranisabi Devi in the ‘Sankirtana’ and ‘Ras Leela’ traditions, by eminent scholar Padmashri Pandit Lt. N. Khelchandra Singh in the “Thang-ta” tradition and by Padmashri Lt. Maharajkumari Binodini Devi , an eminent Manipuri scholar, who over the years, gave her information on the origin, history, importance and the very ethos of Manipuri dance, culture and society. Priti Patel with her artistes from her school of Manipuri Dance Anjika, has performed in several prestigious dance Festivals all over the world and has won a number of laurels and accolades. She has received innumerable awards in appreciation of her work and excellence in this dance form, the most prestigious being the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2011.