Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yakshagana performer, seen in Chennai

What you see below is a Yakshagana performer in costume. 
Yakshagana is a theater form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form. The art form is popularly performed in the Malnad district of Karnataka. This performer was in Chennai, perhaps at the invitation of the people at Dakshina Chitra. 

Traditionally Yakshagana is performed at night, from dusk to dawn. Its speciality lies in the fact that the music is considered to pre-date classical "Karnataka Sangeeta". In recent times however, there has been a growing voice of complaints against the 'distortion' of the Yakshagana traditions. Some people disapprove of the imitation of popular-cinema dances, playing new percussion instruments, the display of commercial banners on the stage, and the colloquial language that is sometimes used.

As always, the question is - should the art forms change, to appeal to new audiences, or should they stick to the traditional format? Should we think of this as the evolution of the art form, or death of tradition? 

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