North Indian students learn that Yakshagana moves here

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Satyam Singh, a young actor from Delhi, finds it fascinating that a male artist can play a female role in Yakshagana, without letting the facade slip.

“In other forms, the audience can easily identify a male in a female role. But it’s difficult in Yakshagana because the make-up, costume, body language and change of voice from male to female is unique,” ​​he said.

Mr Singh is one of a group of 20 young people, including three girls, from northern India who have undergone a month-long free training at a Yakshagana basics workshop at Shrimaya Yakshagana Kalakendra, the center of Yakshagana training from Sri Idagunji Mahaganapathi Yakshagana Mandali. from Keremane, to the village of Gunavanthe, last month. The mandali, a repertoire created in 1934 by the late Keremane Shivarama Hegde, is fast approaching its 90th anniversary.

Others in the group of 20 included young people engaged in theater activities from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The trainees also learned Yakshagana music with dance moves.

“I was very confused during the first three days of training because I had only heard about Yakshagana through social networks. A friend of mine suggested that I approach the kalakendra to learn the form of traditional art. As the training progressed, I started to pick up some of the basics,” Mr. Singh said. The Hindu, adding that expression and body control matter most in the performance. “I want to train in depth in Yakshagana and it will take a long time. Later I want to spread this art form in North India,” he said.

Elaborate makeup

Alok Mishra from Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh said he found the performers wearing their self-designed makeup and costume to be very unique.

Muskan Gupta from Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh said this was her very first trip to South India and she wanted to experience Yakshagana in practice rather than just studying theory.

Ayesha Yadav from Varanasi said Yakshagana’s facial expressions and dance moves could be adapted into theatrical performances anywhere.

Keremane Shivananda Hegde, the late Shivarama Hegde’s grandson and an accomplished Yakshagana artist who now leads the repertoire, said devotees from outside Karnataka have been coming to the kalakendra to learn Yakshagana over the past three decades since 1992 But they were small in number like three or four people. Among them, a handful stayed for three months. It was the first time that such a large number of young people showed up last month. Their daily training was rigorous and lasted from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We aim to develop this into a sustainable ecosystem linking indigenous art, culture and traditional wisdom with the global community,” Mr. Shivananda Hegde said. The mandali, which maintains a fine balance between tradition and innovation, is also known for maintaining the purity of tradition and the perfection of its performance. The training is free for all since the creation of the mandali. Students are also accommodated free of charge for the duration of the training.

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