After breakfast at our homestays, the group met at Krishna’s house at 9am for our final Yakshagana practice. We split up into 3 groups and determined the order for the performance later that night.
We all met up at the local school at 4 pm, to get ready for the performance. It was such a special surprise to arrive and see the school space transform into a community celebration. A team had been working through the day to erect a beautiful tent, set up the stage with lights and sound, and there was even a banner hanging at the road to officially announce the event.
The traditional dance, costumes, and makeup first became part of Karnataka culture in 1556 and the stories they tell are mainly based on the Hindu Epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The makeup was the first step and took upwards of a half an hour. It was an interesting and unique experience with intricate detail and some surprising forms of applying the makeup, for example slapping our faces with a peach colored plant-based paint to blend the colors smoothly. The makeup artist then strategically started drawing designs on our faces in red, white, and black paint, including lots of work around the eyes, getting lips painted, and a few lucky folks had mustaches added as the final touch.
After makeup was completed it was time for costumes. We got into costumes with consisted of more layers and ornate decorative armor or jewels than we could count. Yes…lot’s of layers made them very hot! After a prayer and performance by the younger boys from Heranjal, it was time to hit the stage.
(Desi, Ms. Clapps, Shreya, Aniesha, and Natalie)
There were other performances between Groups 1, 2, and 3, but eventually all groups went onstage over the course of the evening. No show would be complete without a few wardrobe malfunctions; part of Aylin’s costume fell off as she was dancing but she gracefully improvised and got it fixed and Kai’s pants were falling off.
(Aylín, Aidan, Autumn, Johnny, and Carlos)
(Kai, June, Domenic, and Mr. Budd)
Shreya also performed a classical South Indian dance with two other girls from the village, and also concluded the festivities with a solo dance, the Natesa Kautuvam.
The night ended at Krishna’s house to have omelet sandwiches, share stories, laugh, and relax…the performance that seemed near impossible for some had been accomplished. It was an all around amazing day and we are so thankful for the experience of being able to do a traditional Yakshagana dance in front of the community to which we are so grateful for taking us in.