The Kamsale dance is named after the instrument held in hands of the dancer. The Kamsale artistes or dancers are found in the Kannada speaking areas of Mysore, Nanjangudu, Kollegal and Bangalore.
The instrument comprises a cymbal held in one hand and a bronze disc in the other. The main element in art is the rhythmic clang, which blends with the melodious music of the Mahadeeshvara epic. The instruments, in the course of the vigorous rhythmic beatings, are moved around the body of the dancer in innumerable patterns manifesting both skill and art. In a group movement the dancer provides the vision of a series of offensive and defensive maneuvers.
Kamsale is closely connected with a tradition of Shiva worship. The artistes, drawn from ‘Haalu Kuruba’ community. Who have vowed to live a life of devotion to Lord Mahadeeshvara are supposed to perform Kamsale . The dance is a part of a ‘diiksha’ or oath and is taught by teacher or spiritual leader.