60 students being taught Yakshagana on the Konaje campus

Mangalore University will organise a Yakshagana mela of children soon.

As a step in this direction, university’s P. Dayanand Pai and P. Satish Pai Yakshagana Adhyayana Kendra has been training some schoolchildren living in the vicinity of the campus at Konaje since past two months, according to Director of the kendra K. Chinnappa Gowda.

He told The Hindu that about 60 children were being trained free of cost by Yakshagana guru Kumble Shivashankar Bhat every Saturday at the kendra from 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

The best among them would be selected to the university’s “Mangala” troupe which would have 25 children.

Mr. Gowda said that veteran artiste Surikumeru Govinda Bhat had agreed to “fine tune” the dance skills of children during training. The children who had completed training would be given certificates.

Initially, they would be taught to stage some tailor-made episodes. They were being trained in “mummela” (performers) and not in “himmela” (background artistes), he said.

The kendra has a museum with models of Yakshagana characters of Tenku Thittu and Badagu Thittu schools. The models made of fibre are of five-and-a-half feet to seven feet in height.

The museum has models of Pundu Vesha, Raja Vesha, Stree Vesha, Kiratha, Bheemana Mudi, Hanumantha, Bannada Vesha, Kuttari or Rakshasa Stree Vesha and Hasya Vesha.

It also has “himmela” (background) music instruments such as chende, maddale, jagate, chakratala and harmonium. The kendra has collected 40 photographs of veshas of prominent artistes.

It has collected 1,250 works, comprising 94 manuscripts, pertaining to Yakshagana and supportive subjects. It has audio and video recordings of select Yakshagana and talamaddales in Kannada, Hindi, English and Sanskrit.

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