Arts forms from different parts of the country were showcased at Summer Festival 2010, organised at the South Zone Cultural Centre in Thanjavur from May 29 to June 4. Besides providing entertainment to the people of Thanjavur, the event exposed also them to the rich folk tradition that our country boasts of.

If dances such as karagam, kavadi, kolattam, kummiyattam and silambattam from Tamil Nadu provided familiarity to programmes, there were forms such as dolu kunitha from Karnataka, kalbelia from Rajasthan, bamboo dance from Mizoram, Manipur’s thang ta and Kerala’s ottanthullal that lent an exotic touch.

Dolu kunitha occupies the pride of place among dances of Karnataka. The art form is dedicated to the presiding deity Beereshwara, who is mainly worshipped by Kuruba Gowdas. Both an entertainment and a spiritual edification, this drum dance is performed by a group of muscular men who dance, sing and beat their drums simultaneously. The audience was enthralled by the beating of the drums and the matching steps.

According to V. Giridhar, director, South Zone Cultural Centre, the dolu (drum) is hung from the roof of the Beereshwara temple and played during the puja time.

A troupe from Rajasthan performed the Kalbelia, a dance that is performed by the community of the same name, who are snake charmers. The costumes reflect the theme. The artists wore long black skirts embroidered with silver ribbons. The bamboo dance from Mizoram was yet another attraction.

Other dances performed at the festival were dappulu from Andhra Pradesh, dang from Gujarat, bagra from Punjab, cheppali from Uttarakhand and the lamp dance from Goa . A colourful choreographic presentation of all the art forms was the highlight on the day of inauguration and on the concluding day. Giridhar, S.S. Palani Manickam, Union Minister of State for Finance, M.S. Shanmugham, Thanjavur District Collector, and V. Varadarajan, president, Friends of South Zone Cultural Centre, participated in the festival.

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