Dances of Karnataka
¤ Kunitha - Karnataka Traditional Dance
ritualistic dances of Karnataka are known as Kunitha. One of such
ritualistic dances is the Dollu Kunitha. It is a popular dance form of
Karnataka, accompanied by the beats of decorated drums and singing.
This dance form is mainly performed by the men of the shepherd
community known as the Kuruba community. The Dollu Kunitha is
characterized by vigorous drum beats, quick movements and synchronized
group formations. Another dance form of Karnataka is the Puja Kunitha.
In this dance form the dancers carry a wooden structure having a deity
on their heads.
Other dance form - Devare Thatte Kunitha, Yellammana Kunitha, Suggi
Kunitha are named after the deity or the symbol or instruments which
are balanced on the head or held in the hand of the dancer. The Pata
Kunitha, the Gorava Kunitha and the Kamsale are some of the other
common ritualistic dances.
¤ Karnataka Classical Dances
Among the classical dances of India, the Mysore style of
Bharatanatyam, is the oldest and most popular dance form. It is widely
performed here. Other mainstream classical dances here include
Kuchipudi and Kathak.
¤ Karnataka Folk Dances
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.
This dance form is widely performed in the coastal areas of the state 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.
¤ Dance Drama
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.