(Last Updated on : 19/11/2012)
Karnataka is one of the four southern states of India, whose legacy of folk dances dates right from ancient history till date. There are many forms of folk dances of Karnataka
, which have recently received due attention of scholars and artists from many parts of India. Some of the prominent folk dances of Karnataka are the Yakshagana
and Dollu Kunitha
Yakshagana is a folk theatre form of Karnataka, exemplary of an ancient art relating with many of the traditions and conventions of the Sanskrit theatre or drama, particularly those of the Purvaranga and the existence of a character, vidushaka
The first Yakshagana play was in Telugu and was written in the 16th century by Peda Kempa Gaudan and was called as Ganga Gauri Vilasam. The renaissance period dawned upon, followed by the 17th century, which was the time when the Yakshagana form developed in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu
. From the 15th century, in Andhra Pradesh, this folk art is performed both as a narrative song and as a dance drama. The form was also related to the Prabandha natak, which originated in a slightly later period. However, Yakshagana as a theatrical form regained popularity only in the 18th century. Till that time the written plays were created but mainly as scripts for presentations. Yakshagana emerged as a full-fledged theatre form in south Kannada at a time of great political unrest and social turmoil.
The original form of Yakshagana involves the use of recitative modes of poetry, melodies of music, rhythm and dance techniques, colourful costumes and graceful make up. It distinctly differs in many ways from the norms of the Sanskrit stage, as it does not contain a highly elaborate language of hand and eye-gestures, but it is closely related to developments in literature in the adjoining states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu having some affinities to literary forms.
Dollu Kunitha Dance
Kunitha are considered as the ritualistic dances of Karnataka, of which the Dollu Kunitha is one of the ritualistic dances that is popular with the kurubas of 'Beereshvara Sampradaya'. One of the popular dance forms of Karnataka, kunitha is accompanied by the beats of the drums, and singing of the dancers. The beating drums are decorated by available colours or flowers. Only the men of the shepherd community (Kuruba community) are privileged to perform this dance. The Dollu Kunitha is characterized by vigorous drumbeats, quick dancing movements and synchronized group formations. Another dance form of Karnataka, which is equally famous, is the Puja Kunith where performing dancers carry a wooden type of structure having a deity on their heads.
The Dollu dance is related to a myth related to the divine couple of Shiva
. Hence 'Dollu' is popular among Saivites. The Dollu instrument used today is made from the skin of either, sheep or goats, tightly fitted from all sides to a frame that is made up of honne or mango tree wood. The other forms of this dance like - Devare Thatte Kunitha, Yellammana Kunitha, Suggi Kunitha are named according to the deity, symbols or instruments which are balanced on the head or held in the hand of the performer while dancing. Some of the other common ritualistic dances are the Pata Kunitha, the Gorava Kunitha and the Kamsale.