Kelucharan Mohapatra trained in mrudanga playing by his father Chintamani Mohapatra, himself a distinguished painter of traditional Pata-Chitra. His father sent him to the Kunja Behari Rasa Leela at the age of nine. Here he learnt the finer nuances of dance and theatre, trained in Khol, mrudanga and tabla and rose to become a dancer, percussionist and choreographer.
YAKSHAGANA is about 5 or 6 centuries old, spreading the message of morality and dharma through stories from the epics and puranas to rural audiences in all night performances. This popular traditional performing art form of coastal Karnataka resembles Therukoothu and Bhagavatamela in many respects. The Yakshagana theatre is all-male due to traditional social attitude and operational conditions and religious reasons (since traditionally troupes were attached to temples). Yakshagana is vigorous and strenuous with dance movements marked by jumps and twirls that are manly in nature.

The stories are from the Indian mythology and male dominated (the dominant mood is raudra or veera) and the male characters outshine female characters. The males playing the superhuman characters wear heavy, exotic costumes while the female characters, except a demoness, appear like a well dressed upper class Hindu woman. There are about 30 professional Yakshagana troupes today who give all night performances before rural audiences.
Dancer Shanta Rati Misra has produced a documentary in 35mm titled AND MILES TO FLOW, which traces the evolution of Kathakali. It also focuses on similar elements with Japanese dance forms like Kabuki and Noh as well as the Chinese opera. The documentary was screened at the 1998 International Film Festival.

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