Overview on the Dollu Kunitha Dance
One of the most popular drum dances of Karnataka occupying the proudest place among folk dances is – Dollu Kunitha. In this dance form, one sings and also displays spectacular varieties and complex skills for demonstration.
It is believed that Lord Beereshwara’s worshipper named Kuruba Gowdas had sung different songs to praise his Goddesses in ancient times. These songs were later on performed in the form of dance in the state of Karnataka. In Kuruba Purana, the ancient literature, this was considered an unusual kind of worship of God Beereshwara with dance and drums. The main theme of the dance is known as ‘Halumathaasthas’.
A dance troupe consisting of 12 to 16 artists beat the drum and dance in a rhythmic way showing swift and subtle movements in a semi-circular formation. At the center, a leader stands with cymbals and controls their movements. the dance is characterized by alternate slow and fast rhythms. Very huge drums are tied to the performers’ waists and they play them with two thick and round sticks. ‘Guni’ is the method by which the beats are counted. They play with one strike with their bare hand to the left and one strike to the right with a stick. The count or guni increases with the increase of the dollu beats.
The costume is very simple. A sarong or Dhoti is tied on the lower body of the male dances and the upper part is bare also a black sheet rug is tied over the dhoti or sarong while the females dress up in sarees. The female dancers tie their hair in a bun in a circular fashion and attach leaves to it. White cloth is tied to their arms. The clothing and dance reflect the ancient culture.
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