Karnataka Classical Dance

Music and Dance in Karnataka - If we wish to trace the origin of the Indian Classical Dance, the trail would lead us to the Mysore style of Bharatnatyam which is considered one of the ancient and popular dance forms. This dance form is widely prevalent in Karnataka. The other of the mainstream classical dance in Karnataka comprise of the Kuchipudi and the Kathak.

One of the classical folk art forms of Karnataka is the Yakshagana, an Indian variation of the opera.

Yakshagana is a form of dance drama that is widely performed in the coastal areas of Karnataka. This art form has its roots in Karnataka and dates back to about four centuries. In Yakshagana, more attention is paid to the distinctive make-up that is essentially loud and to the footwork. South India Classical Dance - Yakshagana is a homogenous amalgam of dance, songs, music, erudite dialogues and bright costumes. The beginning of the performance in the twilight hours is heralded by the beating of the drums. The common themes for the performances are lifted from the Hindu epics and the puranas. There is a narrator who narrates the story in a musical way. He is accompanied by the musicians playing on the traditional instruments. South India Classical Dance, The actors are responsible for portraying the story through their actions. Yakshagana means celestial music and the dance drama performance is carried out in the night usually at a time when the winter crop has been harvested.

Folk Dances

Krishna Parijatha
Krishna Parijatha is a popular folk theater art form of North Karnataka. It is an amalgamation of Yakshagana and Byalatta, portraying stories or incidents from the great epic Mahabharata.

Bhootha Aradhane
This dance form is widely performed in the coastal areas of Karnataka. The Bhootha Aradhane or devil worship, includes a procession of idols depicting 'bhoothas". This procession is characterized by the beating of drums and bursting of firecrackers. After the end of the procession, the idols are placed on a plinth. Then, a dancer personifying a devil dances around the plinth with sword and jingling bells. The dancer dances vigorously at one point of time and then slows down, signifying that he is now a divine person.

This ritualistic dance form is performed by the people of south Karnataka. It is done to tranquilize the serpent spirit and is an extravagant affair held throughout the night. The dancers called the Vaidyas are dressed as nagakannika. They dance all night long around a huge figure, drawn on the sacred ground with natural colors, in a pandal specially erected in front of the shrine. This ritualistic dance is generally performed between December to April.

Yakshagana is a dance drama performed in the coastal areas of Karnataka. This unique dance form is a perfect blend of dance, music, songs, scholarly dialogues and colorful costumes. Yakshagana mesmerizes each and everyone in the audience with its enchanting music and colorful performances. The word Yakshagana litreally means celestial music. This dance drama is also performed throughout the night, usually after the winter crop has been reaped.