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Professional Yakshagana ‘melas’ (troupes) were forced to give up their daily performances mid-way in March owing to COVID-19 and the lockdown restrictions that ensued.
- The lockdown has hit various stakeholders associated with Yakshagana and they have incurred losses worth crores.
- The belt has over 40 professional touring troupes with most of them presenting all-night shows and a few of them performing short duration shows from December to May.
- The troupes have a minimum of 25 persons to a maximum of 60 persons, including artistes, helpers and others.
- Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form.
- Yakshagana literally means the song (gana) of the yaksha (nature spirits).
- It developed in Udupi, in the state of Karnataka. It is popular in the Karnataka districts of Dakshina Kannada, Kasaragod, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Shimoga .
- This folk art is believed to have originated somewhere in between the 10th and 16th century.
- Yakshagana is strongly influenced by the Vaishnava Bhakti movement. Its stories are mainly drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other Hindu epics.
- A typical Yakshagana performance consists of background music played by a group of musicians (known as the himmela); and a dance and dialog group (known as the mummela), who together enact poetic epics on stage.
- Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn.
- The tenkutittu style: It is prevalent in Dakshina Kannada. Tenkutittu is noted for its incredible dance steps; its high flying dance moves; and its extravagant rakshasas (demons).
The Badagutittu style:
It is prevalent in Uttara Kannada District and places more emphasis on facial expressions, matugarike (dialogues), and dances appropriate for the character depicted in the episode.