Yakshagana workshop in city

Yakshagana workshop in city

Experienced artiste Prasad Cherkady brings the folk art form to the urban city

Prasad Cherkady is a scriptwriter, theater artiste, film actor and a Yakshagana artiste. After being a practitioner of the form for 15 years, he decided to teach. As he has made his foray into film and theatre, he says that teaching allows him to stay connected to the artform. 

He conducts a six-month Yakshagana course that is open to those eight years and above, to introduce them to the basics of Karnataka’s dance drama folk form. The second edition of the course will be held from January 5.

Metrolife caught up with the artiste to find out more:

Yakshagana is an art form that’s highly popular in the coastal areas. How does it fit into a city like Bengaluru?

We have had over 30 registrations so far, with people as young as eight to  those as old 60, enquiring about the course. The response has been overwhelming.  It’s also fascinating that there’s a diverse group of respondents. We have had people who are practising other dance forms, theatre and film artistes, Yakshagana connoisseurs, IT employees, students and even homemakers reaching out to us hoping to join the class.

What can students expect to learn from the course?

We teach both, singing and dance forms of Yakshagana in Tenku style, that is the southern style. We call the singing class ‘Bhagavathike’ and the dance ‘Naatya’.
The syllabus for ‘Bhagavathike’ will cover ‘Purvaranga’ (preliminaries of a play). By the end of the course, students will learn all the basic steps and will be able to perform.

Do you make any changes in styles provided that you’re looking at an urban audience?

There is no need to change what we teach as we focus only on the basic moves are taught. They are universal and can be applied across variations of Yakshagana.

The only changes I’m expected to make for an audience in Bengaluru is the communication process. I use WhatsApp, recorded videos and also switch to English to ease the communication and teaching process.

Who are the instructors?

I personally teach the students. Occasionally, I invite other performers in the industry to give the students more exposure.

What made you start a course like this?

I have practised and taught Yakshagana for 15 years. Now that I’m working with film and theater, the only time I get to keep in touch with the artform is on Sundays. I decided to teach during this time. 

What’s the fee? Where are the classes held?

It is Rs 1,000 rupees a month. That makes it Rs 6,000 rupees for the entire course. The classes will be conducted every Sunday starting from January 5 at Prabhath KH Kalasoudha, Basavanagudi. Bhagavathike classes will be held from 3 pm to 5 pm and the Naatya classes will be held from 5 pm to 7 pm.


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