Which dance form from Karnataka usually begins at night and goes on till early morning?

Yakshajana is a theatre form that is most common along the coast as well as in the Malenadur region of Karnataka. The term Yakshajana is a combination of yaksha, who are nature spirits, with jana or gana which means song. Like most theatre forms found in South India, Yakshajana combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make up as well as stage techniques and as such it closely resembles western opera. In Karnataka, it sometimes simply referred to as ‘the play’. A Yakshajana performance usually starts at dusk and continues till dawn.

A performance of the Yakshajana consists of a group of background musicians called Himmela as well as the dance and dialogue group called the Mummelawho perform the Yakshaga prasanga. The Himmela consists of a Bhagawata who is also the singer, a harmonium called maddale for the drone and loud drums called Chande.

The facial make up of the actors vary from simple to very elaborate designs.  The motif on the face differs and depends if the actor is portraying a hero, demon or a female character. The makeup for a demon is quite elaborate and features artificial eyelids as well as white dots to showcase the violent and fierce nature of demons. These types of makeup can take many hours to complete.

The ornaments used in Badaguttitu Yakshajana are made out of light wood and feature mirror work as well as colored stones and are covered in gold foil. The ornaments worn in Badagutittu consist of a head gear called Kireeta or Pagade, a Kavacha that decorates the chest, armlets called Buja Keerthi that decorate the shoulder as well as a belt called Dabu. The mirror work on the ornaments helps reflect light and make the whole costume feel more colorful. These ornaments are generally worn as a vest and generally cover the top half of the body. A red, black and orange checkered Dhoti is worn on the lower half of the body.


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