My name is Rachna and I am trained Kathak dancer and a working professional from Mumbai. Despite my love for this art form, I have not been able to enjoy many of the diverse dance forms practiced across the county. One such dance form that I truly wanted to watch and experience is the Yakshagana dance, which is a folk theatre style performance practiced mainly in the costal regions of Karnataka.
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So last year, when a theatre group I am involved with, told me about their upcoming trip to Mangalore, I tagged myself along with the hope that I would be able to fulfill my dream. Our journey started on a happy note it became increasingly exciting as we also choose to order food in train online for the first time.
For those not familiar with this dance form, Yakshagana is a night long event that combines dance, dialogue, music, costume and make-up etc. in a unique style and form. The literal translation of Yakshagana is the song of the Yakshas or nature spirits. The performance generally commences during twilight hours and continues through the night uptil dawn. It is basically an improvised presentation of a story taken from the Puranas or epic poems.
Upon reaching Mangalore, the first thing I did was to check all the planned cultural events in the city to learn about any Yakshagana performance in the next couple of nights. Luckily, I came to know about one being organized just a short distance away from our hotel on the next night itself. So, I made a few enquiries and booked the tickets for the performance with some assistance from our hotel manager. I reached the venue half an hour before the scheduled time just to ensure that I did not miss anything.
I knew that I was going to be amazed by this performance, but nothing had prepared me for the magical affect it left on me. I rarely moved through the entire performance, which was extremely colorful and completely engrossing. By the time the performance was over in the wee hours of the morning, I was actually craving for more.