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`Dollu Kunita' is no longer a domain of men

Special Correspondent



BREAKING THE BARRIER: Women performing `Dollu Kunita.'

SHIMOGA: A determined and hardworking women's troupe from Shimoga district has made a foray into "Dollu Kunita," a folk dance form, which is considered a male-dominated art.

Their proficiency in this art is such that Rangayana has invited them to perform during the inauguration of "Dasara Rangotsava" in Mysore on October 4.

"Dollu Kunita" is a unique folk art of the Malnad region and is performed during jatras, social occasions and cultural festivals. It calls for a tremendous physical stamina and concentration by artistes.

Programme

Artistes have to dance accordingly beating the heavy "dollu" (drum) they carry. It is because of this reason "Dollu Kunita" is considered a male-dominated folk art. Women folk artistes of the region performed the art at a function organised by the Jana Shikshana Samsthan here on September 23.

The samsthan, which imparts training in vocational arts, observed Women's Day in May last by organising "Dollu Kunita" by a women's troupe from Sagar. Later, it held a training programme in "Kolata," another popular art, for 40 women artistes. Even while imparting training in "Kolata," it thought of inviting a women's troupe to present "Dollu Kunita."

Neo-literate women

But its plan did not materialise. Taking it as a challenge, the samsthan decided to train neo literate women in "Dollu Kunita." It engaged Ramappa of Kugve in Sagar taluk, who is an expert in the art, for the purpose. Neo literate women of Heggodu in Sagar taluk responded positively to the proposal and began training under the leadership of the motivators of the literary programme, Gulabi, Phaniamma and Bharathi.

Training

Meanwhile, programme officer of the samsthan S.Y. Arunadevi, who visited the Continuing Learning Centre of Heggodu, encouraged women to enrol for the training programme. Subsequently, 12 women enrolled for the programme. However, their interest seemed to be short-lived as they found the art tough to learn. But their tenacity to learn helped them to sustain their interest in it. Within a week, they could overcome the rigours under the tutelage of Mr. Ramappa. Their involvement in the art was such that they were able to perform "Dollu Kunitha" after 15 days of intense training.

Popular

Now, the troupe is popular in and around Heggodu which is known for stage activities under the aegis of NINASAM.

Director of the Samsthan Lakshminarayana Kashi is providing all assistance to the troupe. "I am confident that the troupe will soon become self-sufficient by earning for its performances," he said.

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