State level One day Symposium on Indian Traditional Theatrical Art forms – Yakshagana and Bharatanrtya (Association and Application)

Posted On: Thursday, January 30th, 2020
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Author: Shalini Vittal, Bengaluru

Karnataka Yakshagana Academy, Bengaluru in association with Noopura Bhramari ® organized a State level One day Symposium on Indian Traditional Theatrical Art forms – Yakshagana and Bharatanrtya (Association and Application) on the 15th December 2019, at Sri Jayarama Seva Mandali ®, Jayanagar, Bengaluru.

It was well-planned successful programme started with inauguration by Sri. Mallepuram. G. Venkatesh (Vice Chancellor, Sanskrit University, Bengaluru) and Prof. M.A. Hegade (President, Karnataka Yakshagana Academy, Bengaluru), along with an innovatory song by Dr. Manorama. B.N.

The academic sessions started with a keynote address by Sri. Shatavadhani. Dr. R. Ganesh, along with a presentation on “Solo performance and Natyashastra”. He started his speech saying that the title and the objective of the seminar itself is quite big in order to accommodate many subjects within, including Yakshagana and its forms. He briefly explained about the prevalent various forms of Yakshagana and other Desi forms, by keeping the Natyashastra as the background. He spoke about the importance and adaptations of Natyashastra and explained the importance of the terms Nrtta, Nrtya and Natya. He also told about the importance of Aharya Abhinaya, which directs the Angika, especially in Yakshagana.

In his presentation, he told about how Yakshagana should move towards Nrtya and how Nrtya should move towards Natya, to create the Rasanubhava. The Nrtya artistes should take shelter under Yakshagana in terms of the availability of Literature and Vachikabhinaya, whereas Yakshagana artistes can take shelter from the Nrtya artistes in terms of adapting the charis from Natyashastra and can get help in the refinement of the present Yakshagana, like an old wine in a new bottle.

He beautifully put the words amalgamating the Indian Culture and performing art tradition- ‘Yakshagana is like Sanatanadharma. Though there is no written document, flexibility in is, is more.’ His presentation was like the essence of the whole symposium and has provided a great treasure of information along with insights, followed by a practical demonstration of adapting the charis of Natyashastra into Yakshagana, beautifully demonstrated by Sri. Mantap Prabhakara Upadhyaya and his team.

The next session was presented by Sri Surikumeru Govinda Bhat, Saphalapura on the “Influence of Bharatanatya on Tenkutittu school of Angikaabhinaya: Possibilities and Hindrances”. The speaker himself has learnt Bharatanatya and adapted the Adavus, Movements of Hands and Legs (Right and left, front and back) in all speeds, and Abhinaya (usage of eyes, eyebrows, cheeks, etc) from Bharatanatya into Yakshagana. He told about the changes that Yakshagana has seen during the 70 years has been enormous, But the basic Tattva for all the art forms is the same. The speaker also mentioned that the responsibility of the artiste lies in the hands of the artiste in adapting the adavus, depending upon the character. At the same time he has experienced a lot of objections and opinions from different scholars. This session witnessed a practical demonstration by Sri. Divana Shivashankara Bhat, who demonstrated the adaptation of Bharatanatya adavus like Ta tai tai ta adavu, Tai hat tai hi adavu, etc into Yakshagana.

The next session was on the topic “Badagu school of Yakshagana: Influence of Northern and southern art forms and practicality of Choreography”, by the speaker Sri Keremane Shivananda Hegade, Idagunji. He spoke about the similarities and differences in all Indian Dance Art forms and mentioned -there is a need of holistic approach to both North and South Indian dance forms. The Sthanakas, Charis and Angaharas, which are already there in Natyashastra are present in Yakshagana.  Though the Badagu form of Yakshagana has kept up its antiquity, the present Yakshagana has influence of Carnatic, Hindustani and Light music also. Yakshagana has many unique charachteristics which not to be disturbed by mere blind adaptations. One has to observe and analyse for the necessity before borrowing from other dance forms. By quoting the historical milestone he has done the analysis of present patterns of Art prevailed.

Finally, the speaker demonstrated a few changes in the hastas used in practical performance of Yakshagana, the stance and movements which were influenced by Bharatanatya and Kathak forms.

The next speaker in the series was Dr. Shobha Shashikumar, Bengaluru on the topic “Confluence of Bharatanrtya ith Yakshagana: A Practical Insight”.  She spoke on her personal experiences with research insights she found in the two medium. Appreciating, authenticating the Yakshagana as the Karnataka’s performing Art form, which has the regional original flavor. She has stated how the Marga period has given so much wealth to the field, so that Desi formats are still beneficiary from it. She also welcomed the experimentations with the possibilities of Give and Take Policy. There is nothing wrong in give and take, as long as it contributes to  Rasanubhava, which is the ultimate purpose of Natya. She also explained the tala technique of two different art system- in which Chaturashra tala’s importance in the choreography of Nruthya. Practical demonstration of Marga Karanas like Vinivrtta, Ardharecita, Urdhvajanu, Katibhranta, etc was shown by her disciples Arun Srinivasan, Megha Srinivas and Madhulika Srivatsa. She has explained how these karanas could be adapted in Yakshagana to portray the characters and situations in an acrobatic way and also while performing duets and some Karanas like Uromandala, Mattalli, Nitamba, etc can be adapted for the Stri vesha in Yakshagana. However, the Format and Prayoga are based on personal experience and the talent of the performing artiste.

The next and the final speaker of the day was Dr. Veena murthy Vijay, on “Innovation of Kuchipudi Adavus based on Karnataka Yakshagana”. This presentation was a part of her Senior Fellowship programme, under the guidance of Satavadhani Dr. R. Ganesh. She gave an introduction of Kuchipudi Yakshagana, their complementary forms, its origin as folk tradition from Andhrapradesh. She has explained about the rhythmic structures present in both Yakshagana and Kuchipudi and the cause for origin of Kuchipudi Yakshagana. A practical demonstration of Choukam adavu, Venaka natu, Jaradagu, Kattira Natu, etc was performed in comparison with Yakshagana adavus. She has demonstrated how the Yakshagana adavus were adapted into Kuchipudi also. The demonstration was done by Smt. Shamakrishna and Chitkala Tunga.

A Scholarly discussion was observed in post academic sessions. The invited observers Dr. Padekallu Vishnu Bhat, Sri Ujire Ashok Bhat and Sri Korgi Shankaranarayana Upadhyaya put their observations..

The Concluding session was carried out with a speech by Dr. Prabhakar Joshi, senior scholar from Mangalore- who congratulated all the presenters. He stressed upon the fact that- Any research should observe the changing trends in the limits of Time and Space. We should welcome the innovations and implement new adaptations, depending on the talent of the individual artiste.

This was followed by a brief preseidential address by Prof. M.A. Hegade, President of Karanataka Yakshagana Academy- who has appreciated the symposium carried out and such kind of sessions are like rejuvenation to any art minds, which is helpful to understand their own efforts and  depend on the Self.

Lupta Natya – Yakshagana Talamaddale on Karnabhedana

Characterization of Karna and Krishna was excellently carried out by both the artistes -Sri Ujire Ashok Bhat and Sri Divakara Hegade.. The Bhagavatike rendition by Smt. Kavyashri Ajeru was highlighted.


Research-oriented solo performance with the combination of both Yakshagana and Bharatanrtya, performed by Dr. Manorama. B.N, from Noopura Bhramari, based on her father vision Late. Sri. Narayana Bhat, She has explained how the references to Bhanika can be found in the works of Bharata’s Natyashastra, and other treatises. She has also given the reocrds of Bhanika which were presented before in the field of performing arts.

The performance was based on the story plot where Suyodhana’s (Duryodhana) life journey which has been brought out in flashback mode considered as very innovative to Yakshagana field. The adaptation done by artiste on elements of Natyashastra was clearly seen with the combination of Deshi movements. The entire performance took the spectators to an elevated level of experience.

The musical ensemble Smt. Kavyashri Ajeru ( Bhagavatike), Vid. H.S. Venugopal (Flute), Sri Krishnaprakasha Ulittaya (Maddale)and Vid. Prasanna Kumar (Rhythm Pad) has created imaginary world supporting the artiste brilliance.

The overall experience of Bhanika was an extraordinary one and such innovative research-oriented experimentations are always welcome in the Art field. Also the Seminar stood with  success giving platform to many experimentations, demonstrations and performances and making the spectators to filled with insights, thoughtful topics and mesmerizing visual treat.

  • (Author is Researcher, observer, Organiser- ‘Kalagowri’)


Photos by : Pooja Balasubhramanya, Bengaluru


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