Mangaluru, June 16,2017: For the first times in the annals of history, an education institute in the State’s coastal belt is set to offer a two-year integrated course in Yakshagana for free from July 2017, next month. Students will also be initiated with basic communicative English as part of the course in the hope of giving it a broader canvas.
The course, to be offered by Alva’s Education Foundation at Alva’s College in Moodbidri, is not affiliated to a university. The private college, which is affiliated to Mangalore University, itself will award a diploma certificate. As of now, no university offers certificate, diploma, degree or postgraduate course in Yakshagana.
According to M. Mohan Alva, chairman of the foundation, accommodation, food, and education of students aged between 16 and 25 will be free. The minimum qualification to join the course is a pass or fail in Class 10.
A panel, comprising professional Yakshagana artistes and academicians, is fine-tuning the syllabus of the course to be introduced from July 1.
Chairman Alva told media that there would be options for students to select either Badagu Thittu (northern school) or Tenku Thittu (southern school) Yakshagana. But it would be mandatory for all the students to learn preliminaries of both ‘himmela’ and ‘mummela’ for about a year. In the next year, they could specialise in their area of interest. Himmela comprises ‘bhagavathike’ (singing) and playing percussion instruments, while ‘mummela’ covers make-up, dance, acting, and oration. In addition, the students would be taught yoga and other exercises to keep them fit. Basics of Carnatic music — to which ‘bhagavathike’ is linked — would also be taught, Chairman Alva, who is a Bharatanatyam dancer, stated.
He said the college would give “some amount” as stipend to the students for two years. As Yakshagana has gone global now, teaching communicative English would help the students to interact with others who were not familiar with this art form. “The thrust of our college’s cultural policy is promotion of Yakshagana without commercial interest,” he said.
P. Kishen Hegde, who owns five Yakshagana melas (touring troupes), said there was demand from melas for trained artistes, but supply was not enough. “A talented and star Yakshagana artiste now takes home salary on a par with a software engineer,” he said.