The pung or the Manipuri drum is the soul of Manipuri Sankirtana music and classical dance. A cylindrical instrument, made of wood and leather, the pung is an indispensable part of all religious and social rituals and an object of veneration. Traditionally performed by men, Pung Cholom is a highly refined classical dance form characterised by sound modulation from a soft whisper which builds up to a thunderous climax. The dancers play the pung and dance while playing in complex acrobatic feats involving jumps and leaps to the changing rhythms.
The Indian festival of colour, Holi, known in Manipur as Yaosang, is an occasion marked by dance and music. Dhol Cholom, a form of drum dance, is an essential part of these festivities. The rendition at Confluence, performed by the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy, will inculcate a welcome of Yaosang, heralding spring, and a prayer to the Lord.
Founded as the Manipur Dance College by Pandit Nehru in 1952 after he witnessed a spellbinding Raas Leela performance at the Royal Palace in Imphal, the institute was renamed Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy after his demise in 1964. The Academy encourages production of composition dances and dance dramas and provides a platform to the Gurus and talented student-artistes of Manipur. It is a constituent unit of Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.