Artiste of the Yesteryears: Akham Lakshmi Devi

01 Nov 2022

Artiste of the Yesteryears: Akham Lakshmi Devi

Name: Akham Lakshmi Devi

Father: (Late) Pukhrambam Kunjakishore Singh

Mother: Pukhrambam Ekasini Devi

Date of birth: 1st May 1952

Akham Lakshmi Devi is a pioneer Classical Solo and Manipuri duet dance artiste who has enthralled audiences across the globe, securing a unique place for these art forms and Manipur on the cultural map of the world. For her invaluable contributions to Manipuri dance, she was conferred with the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (Dance) in 2018.

Lakshmi Devi started her tutelage and initiation in Manipuri dance at the age of six at the erstwhile Manipur Dance College, presently the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy, and obtained her Nrityacharya in the year 1968.

She was trained intensively by (Late) Padma Shri Guru Amubi Singh, (Late) Padma Shri Guru H Tomba Singh, Guru Amuyaima, and Guru Th Babu Singh who groomed her as a leading artiste in Manipuri Dance. She has been associated with Guru Th Babu for solo performances and further experimentation and innovation of Manipuri classical dance.

Lakshmi has performed in most of the major dance festivals in the country and abroad including Khajuraho, Konark festivals, and dance festivals under Sangeet Natak Akademi. Performing solo as well as in groups, she has to her credit a number of dance items that have won many acclamations. She gave performances in Russia, London, France, and South Africa. She was also a senior artiste in the production of Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy.

Noteworthy performances

  • She has performed in many places in India and abroad. As a member of a cultural troupe sponsored by ICCR, her solo performance especially in Lasya of Manipur dance has been widely acclaimed.
  • She is the only dancer selected nine times for the Classical solo Dance Festival organized by the Manipur State Kala Akademi from 1985 to 1991, 1991, and 1997.
  • She participated and worked as a dance artiste of the award-winning Manipuri Film Documentary ‘Meetei Poong’ directed by renowned filmmaker and composer Aribam Syam Sharma.
  • She acted as ‘Sangai’ in the film ‘Sangai’ produced by Sangeet Natak Akademi and won many awards at the Fifth International Festival (USA).
  • She participated in the International Folk-Lore Festival and Opening Ceremony of Asian Games, Seoul, 1986 as well as in the 5th International Theatre Festival London, 1989.

Awards and Honours

For her immense contributions and propagation of Manipuri dance, she has been given recognitions and conferred many awards at both the state and national levels:

  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (Dance), 2018.
  • Manipur State Kala Akademi Award in Classical Manipuri Dance, 2010.
  • Nritya Bhusan by Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, 2014.
  • Awarded ‘TOP’ Grade Classical Manipur Dance DDK Delhi 2012, Central Dance Audition Board.
  • Recognised as a panel Artiste of ICCR, New Delhi, India, and EZCC, Calcutta, India.

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