(Last Updated on : 25-04-2014)
Dance drama is a popular form of Kannada theatre
. Over the years Kannada theatre has evolved greatly. Close to the opera Kannada theatre
, is the Dance drama and Theme dances, which is very popular on the amateur theatre of Kannada stage as well. Like the Western ballet, the Dance drama places emphasis on dance and gesture to interpret a theme; but the technique here may not be strictly classical as in Kathakali
though they bring home the full import of an emotion. In recent times, particularly during the last two decades more and more youngsters are being trained in dancing and these amateur dancers - boys and girls are popularising the dance-drama which is virtually the time honoured theme dances of old times. This recent medium has brought a revival of some of the classical themes-mythological and historical, to the Amateur Kannada theatre
stage; Vishwamitra Menaka, Lord Shiva
, and Kamadahana could be cited as a few typical examples.
Social themes also have been taken up by progressive performers like Srinivasa Kulkarni, Krishna Kumar, Umesh Heranjal and others in North Karnataka, U. S. Krishnarao and Simha in Mysore and Karanth in South Canara. Successful dance-dramas have been composed on various themes like poverty, evils of drinking and the condition of Indian labourer. Short and entertaining theme-dances like Snake Charmer, the Hasty lover or the Beggar and the child flourish side by side with dance-dramas on serious themes of Arunagiri and Chandra Kinnara. A new trend is the attempt to interpret through dances the lyrics of our Saint composers and our modern Poets. These attempts have gained a steady popularity.
The Dance-drama of the amateur stage pays particular attention to the art of make-up and to costumes, though it is comparatively poor in settings and scenery. The performance of each theme usually covers duration of about fifteen minutes and is supported by an orchestra which provides both musical effects to the performance and accompaniment to the "play-back singer". The dance-drama makes good use of stage devices, particularly light and shadow effects. It is performed mostly by boys and girls, teenagers - who have received some training, and, but for its invariably amorous themes, the dance-drama could really help in building up a good children's' theatre in India
and also in the state of Karnataka
. It attracts the adult audiences as well, and is fast becoming more popular than the opera. It is a symbol of the revival of music, dance and gesture which originally formed the chief ingredients of Drama.