Sunday, February 24, 2013

Yakshagana - Indian Classical dance drama

Yakshagana (Yaksha-gaana) is a classical dance drama from state of Karnataka, India.
It is most popular in the districts of Uttara Kannada, shimoga, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasaragod.

King Balarama, Lord Krishna's older brother

Lord Krishna and Jambavantha (the King of Bears)

This theater art involves music, songs, dance, dialogue, story and unique costumes. Its the combination of classical and folk element which makes Yakshagana unique from other Indian art.

Krishna introducing himself to Jambavantha as the one who lifted Mt Govardhana on his tiny finger

From western perspective, Yakshagana is a form of Opera !

Balarama in serious conversation with Krishna

There are many professional groups performing the Yakshagana today. Some of them are finding new grounds outside of India.

Lord Krishna in his avatara of Sri Rama

Watching a live Yakshagana is unparalleled to watching this on television. I had my very first opportunity to watch this live art form in Seattle during last year's Deepawali celebrations. 

A scene from the intense drama and dialogue between Krishna and Jambavatha

Jambavantha bows to Krishna who reveals himself as Sri Rama
The story - "Jambavathi Kalyana" by artists of 'Yaksharanga' of Bay Area.
Everything from the costume, makeup, the powerful dialogues, the dance steps ... kept the audience captivated. 

The "Jambavathi Kalyana" artists from Yaksharanga

Kudos to the 'Yaksharanga' artists for their mesmerizing performance. 

Photographs by Anupama Puneeth
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