Karnataka is a place where you would find a wide variety of folk dances which are still performed. This folk dance involves classical dances and puppetry too. The every corner of Karnataka let it be southern part or northern part; these folk dances are meant only for entertainment enriching the lives of people in Karnataka.
Lists of such popular folk dances of Karnataka are as follows:
- Dollu Kunitha:
This dance form is one of the dances performed by men and women of kuruba community of Northern Karnataka. The district of Shimoga and Chitradurga are particularly noted for this folk dance. This is performed to commemorate means to do remember or honor a particular event, occasion, festival, birth of a child. It is also used to welcome the harvest season in a particular region. Basically Dollu Kunitha is a popular dance form which is accompanied by singing and the beats of decorated drums
- Somana Kunita:
It is another dance form which is performed in the districts such as Hassan, Tumkur, Bangalore, Mandya and Chitradurga which are located in the old Mysore region. It is a ritualistic dance which is performed to workshop the mother goddess by the gangemata community in the southern part of Karnataka. Somana Kunita is a mask dance in which many varieties of colorful masks are used in which each color, is the identity of a particular god’s nature. These masks are made up of red sandalwood tree and it differs from region to region.
- Jaggahalige Kunita:
This dance form is famous in northern part of Karnataka and is a folk dance of Hubballi Dharwad region. It is mainly performer on occasion such as Ugadi and holi. In this an instrument named Jaggahalige is used which is made up of bullock cart wheel wrapped in buffalo hide. The villagers roll out large number of instruments which is headed by the choreographer playing a much-smaller percussion instrument known as the kanihaligi, made of clay and covered with calf hide which includes 15 people in all.
One of the most popular dance form in the coastal region is Yakshaghana. It is a folk theatre form which includes dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, along with stage techniques. The word Yakshaghana means the song of the spirit. It is evolved from pre classical music and theatre during the period of the Bhakti movement.The music which is played in the performance is different from the other Karnataka sangeet and Hindustani music, thus standing out and making a difference from other dance forms.
Here the group who plays music is called immela and a dance and dialogue group is called Mummela both together are responsible to enact the poetic epics on the stage.
- Togalu Bombeaata:
Togalu Bombeaate is one of the puppet show performed describing the holy scriptures of Ramayana and Mahabharata. They use leather puppets in the show; the main aim of this dance form is to make aware more and more people about the mythological stories.
- Krishna Parijatha:
Among all the folk dances Krishna Parijatha is also well known and performed widely in Karnataka. The performance is based on mythological tales that is widely known in Karnataka. The performance revolves around Lord Krishna and provides pleasure and delight to the audience watching it. The word Parijatha means the wish granting tree planted in the garden of Lord Indra.
It is believed that Krishna Parijatha is a blend of Yakshaghana and Byalatta. There a huge list of the dance forms in Karnataka the glimpse of some are already mentioned above being a state full of classical and folk dances it’s really difficult to cover all.