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Perhaps Kerala is the only state in India that has such myriad forms of performing arts that are grand spectacle of colors and costumes. Kathakali, the pride of Kerala, is an art form where music, dance and drama are incredibly synchronized. Mohiniyattom, Ottanthullal, Koodiyattam, Chakiarkoothu, Pathakam and Chavittunatakam, though lesser known to the outside world are equally important art forms of Kerala.
Kathakali the classical dance form of Kerala,was originated in Kerala 400 years ago. It took shape mainly from Koodiyattam, Mohiniyattom, Chakyarkoothu, Ashtapadyattom and Krishnanattom. A complete art, KathakaliKathakali-Art Performance, Kerala constitute 3 fine arts - abhinayam or acting, nrityam or dancing and geetham or sing
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and is a pantomime in which the performing artiste does not sing or speak. So music is a very essential aspect of Kathakali and the bhagavathar or the singer plays a key role in the staging of the art form.The great poet Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon, the founder of Kerala Kala Mandalam, gave Kathakali the look and feel we see today. Kathakali is usually presented at dusk in the premises of temples, sometimes continuously for ten days, each night featuring an act of the play and lasting till day break. Kathakali music belongs to the Sopana category of music which is typical of Kerala and is characteristically slow, strictly adhering to the tala (rhythm) giving full scope for abhinaya (acting).Instruments used include Chenda, Maddalam and Ilathalam. The actors paint their faces vividly and use different costumes depending on the kind of characters they portray and according to that the "Vesha" (costume) is mainly classified into four: Pacha(Sathwika, the hero), Kathi(the villain), Minukku(for female characters) and Thaadi. Kathakali, especially its verses and music are an enormous contribution to Malayalam literature and music. Aattakkatha, the literature part of Kathakali, forms a separate division in Malayalam literature. Compared to others Kathakali music is more involved and complex clarifying the meanings of mudras or hand gestures, describing the context and expressing the depth of emotions enacted by the artiste.
Mohiniyattam is a dance form said to have originated in Kerala. It is closely related to Bharathanatyam of Tamil Nadu, which was originally called 'Dasiyattam'. Originated as the temple dance Mohiniyattom-Art Performance, Kerala performed by Devadasis, it portrays feminine love in its myriad forms - carnal, devotional and maternal- with acce
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accent more on Lasya and Bhava. In the main items Cholkettu, Padavarnam and Padam, Mudras and facial expressions are more important than the rhythmic steps. Costumes and ornaments of Mohiniyattam have much in common with female characters of Koodiyattam and Kathakali.Once Mohiniyattam was performed only in Temples premises and royal courts. The first reference to Mohiniyattam is found in 'Vyavaharamala' composed by Mazhamangalam Narayanan Namboodiri, of 16th century AD. Major contributions to this art form were given by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, Irayimman Thampi and Kuttikunju Thankachi.After Swathi Thirunal's period there was a downfall of Mohiniyattam. It somehow degenerated into eroticism to satisfy the Epicurean life of a few provincial satraps and landlords. The renowned Malayalam poet Vallathol revived it and gave it a status in modern times through Kerala Kalamandalam which is presently doing its best for the development and popularity of Mohiniyattam.Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma (wife of famous Kathakali artist, late Padmashree Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair) and Chinnammu Amma are well known Mohiniyattam performers. Among the present day artists Kalamandalam Sathyabhama, Kalamandalam Kshemavathi, Bharathi Sivaji, Kanak Rele, Sunanda Nair etc.. are well known artists. Smt. Kanak Rele deserves a special mention as she is not a Malayalee. She has established a Nritya Mahavidyalaya in Mumbai to promote Mohiniyattam along with other dance forms.
Most of the component items of Mohiniyattam are similar to Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi, though subtle differences of style is obvious. The language used in the lyrics is a pleasant mixture of Malayalam and Sanskrit, known as Manipravalam. Formerly, the Padams were specially composed to include only Sringararasa. Now a days artists are using any classical or semi-classical compositions, even from other language. The real beauty of Mohiniyattam comes through only when mature ladies enact the romantic padams specially written to present the Ashta Nayikas: Swadheena Bharthruka, Khanditha, Abhisarika, Vipralabdha, Kalahandtharitha, Vasakasajja, Proshithabharthruka, Viraholkhanditha.The accompaniments for Mohiniyattam are Vocal, Veena, Venu, Maddalam and Idakka. Other instruments are also not unusual.Compared most other dance forms, Mohiniyattam gives more importance to gestural and facial acting. The Mudras (hand gestures) are almost always same as those employed in Kathakali. The artists try to enact the lyrics almost in its entirety, like in Kathakali.
Koodiyattam, Sanskrit drama performed in Kerala, India, has been recognised by UNESCOKoodiyattom-Art Performance, Kerala as a Human Heritage Art. Rightly so. It is the oldest existing classical theatre form in the entire world, having originated much before Kathakali and most other theatrical forms. It is considered to be at least 2000
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years old. Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal, an ancient King of Kerala was known as the creator of Koodiyattam in the present form. His book "Aattaprakaram" describes various aspects about how to perform Koodiyattam. Till date this is considered the most authoritative work on the art form. The "grammar" of performance is entirely based on the stipulations of "Natyashasthram" by Bharatha Muni, the most authoritative book on the science of acting.Traditionally, Koodiyattam is presented by "Chakyars" (a sub caste of Kerala Hindus). The female roles went only to "Nangyars" (Women of Nambiar caste). The name 'Koodiyattam' (combined dance form) came because it is the combined performance of Chakkyar and Nangyar. The only musical accompaniment used to be "Mizhav" played by Nambiar men. Of late, Idakka also finds a place beside Mizhav.
A solo dance exposition, the Thullal is of three types. Its origin is attributed to Kunchan Nambiar, a veritable geniusThullal-Art Performance, Kerala and one of the foremost poets of Kerala. Though based on classic principles of Natya Shastra the technique of this art is not rigid. The songs, written in simple Malayalam, frank to
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outspoken wit and humour, the simplicity of presentation and the direct appeal to every day life made Thullal very popular.The instruments used in Thullal are the maddalam and the cymbals. The cymbal player who tunes the rhythm, also assists the actor dancer (Thullakaran) in singing.n actual performance the cymbal player first sings the invocation song when the dancer faces the orchestra and does obeisance. After that, with his back still to the audience the dancer does a slick flourish of step and body movements. Then he turns to the audience and the dance proper is begun. He first sings a verse and while the lines are being repeated by his musical assistance, he brings out the meaning through facial expressions, hand gestures and bodily postures. The roles of the raconteur and actor are perpetually interchanged with tremendous aesthetic efforts. In one moment he is the narrator but in the next he completely identifies himself with the narration.It is to the dance that prime importance is given in Thullal. From the beginning to the end there is dance even though it lacks much of variety. To compensate for the monotony, sometimes the dancer executes some vigorous footsteps and rhythmic movements of the body.Thullal is classified into three different types. Ottan, Seethankan and Parayan based on the difference in costume, dance and also
The metre and rhyme of the Thullal songs.Of all Thullal dances the Ottan Thullal is the most popular. The costume is peculiar and impressive. A long tape of cloth of white and red colour is hooked around a waist string to form a knee length skirt. A chest plate adorned with various types of coloured beades, glass and tinsel and ornaments is also used.Gaudily painted wooden ornaments are worn at the wrist, and on the
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shoulders.Tin kling bells are tied to the legs just above the calf. The face is painted green, the lips are reddened and the eyes are emphasised with black paint. The head -dress is colourfully decorated. The metre and rhyme of the Ottam Thullal songs are very fast, and the dance as such has a high tempo.In Seethankan Thullal the metre and rhyme of the Thullal songs are a bit more- slow than in Ottam Thullal and consequently dance is also slower in tempo. The dancer uses similar skirt as in Ottam Thullal. But the arms, wrists and head are adorned with ornaments made of fresh tender coconut fronds. There is no facial make up except darkening of the eyesThe Parayan is the slowest in tempo. Even the stance of the dancer is different from the other two.
Here the dancer almost stands erect and explains the meaning of the songs by gestures. There is very little of the dance element or of action. The costume is also different. A red, flowery clothe is worn around the waist. A crown of black clothe adorns the head. Necklaces are used on the chest. The face is painted with light yellow.
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Thiruvathirakali is a dance typical to Kerala performed by women for everlasting marital bliss, on the Thiruvathira asterism in the Malayalam month of DhanuThiruvathira Kali-Art Performance, Kerala (December/January).It is observed as an occasion to celebrate womanhood. Only girls and women perform this., They stand
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in a circle dressed in style traditional style and the dance follows a circular pattern accompanied by clapping and singing. There are songs called Thiruvaathirappattu with a special rhythm. Most of these songs praise lords. The dance is a celebration of marital chastity and female energy, for this is what brought Kamadeva (of Indian mythology) back to life after he was reduced to ashes by the ire of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer, one among the Trinity in Indian mythology. The rituals involve chewing of 108 betel leaves along with lime and grated arecanut, undergoing fast and taking a dip in the village pond singing the Thiruvathirappattu. The sinuous movements executed by the dancers during Thiruvathirakali around a nilavilakku embody lasya or the amorous charm and grace of the feminine. Also known as Kaikottikkali it is an important entertainment folk art of Malayalee women during Onam season.
Bharata Natyam is poetry in motion, tracing its hoary origins in the Natya Shastra, written by the great sage, Bharata, it is a highly traditional and stylized dance form. Crystallized in the cast-iron mould of Bharata's technique, this art form grossly disallows new-fangled innovations or gimmicks except in repertoire and forms of
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presentation.Bharathanatyam- Art Performance-Kerala Emerging far back in the ancienttwists of ancient history (as information for the date conscious, 4000 B.C. is the ascribed date to the Natya Shastra), Bharatanatyam has been immortalized in successive generations, as much by the sinuous grace of great dancers as by the nimble fingers of renowned sculptors who have demonstrated the perfection of Bharata's technique in the flowing lines of temple sculptures. Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form of South India, said to be originated in Thanjavoor of Tamil Nadu. It was known as "Daasiyattam" since performed by Devadasies in temples of Tamil Nadu long ago. The name 'Bharatanatyam' is derived from three basic concepts of Bhava, Raga and Thaala. The modern Bharatanatyam was systematically regularized by well known 'Thanjavoor Brothers', Ponnayya, Chinnayya, Sivanandam and Vativelu.The dance is performed in the stage as Nritham, Nrithyam and Natyam. Bharatanatyam is based on the theories of the books 'Natyasaasthram' and 'Abhinaya Darpanam'. The dance form is based on 'Adavu' (steps) and 'Hasthamudra' (hand gestures). There are 64 basic 'Adavu' and they are divided into 9 parts, on which 'Thattadavu', 'Naatadavu', 'Kuthithumettadavu', 'Mandiadavu', 'Sarikkal' and 'Thattumettu' are very important. Communication is done through 'bhavabhinaya' (facial expression) and 'hasthamudra' (hand gestures). The performance starts with the prayers to God Ganapathi and worship of Nataraja Moorthi.The sequence of the dance performance is 'Alarippu', 'Jathiswaram', 'Sabdam', 'Varnam', 'Padam' and 'Thillana'. After 'Thillana', with a 'Mangala Slokam' the dance program ends. Normally the performance lasts for two to two and half hours.The costume is paijama and jacket of Kanchipuram silk and Banaras silk. The dancer wears a lot of ornaments of shining stones on neck, ears, hands, and head, jasmin garland in the hair and foot trinklet with small bells.The music of Bharatanatyam is based on Carnatic classical music. The instruments used are Veena, Flute, Mridangam and Violin. The dance direction is done by 'Nattuvanar' giving the Thaalam using hand symbols and singing 'Vaaythari'. There will be two singers also.
Some of the famous Bharatanatyam performers are Bala Saraswathi, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Rugmini Arundel, Kamala Laxman, Padma Subrahmaniam and Chithra Visweswaran. Panthanalloor Meenakshi Sundaram Pilla, Panthanalloor Chokkalingam Pilla, Padmasree Vazhoor Ramayyan Pilla and Adayar Laxman are some of the famous 'Nattuvar'.Koothu, Koodiyatom, Patakom, Ashtapdiyatoom, Krishnanattom, Thullal, Mohiniyattom and Kathakali are the most important classical dances.
This classical dance is performed by the member of the professional Chakyar cast that too only in Koothambalam of temples. It is one of the oldest of Koothu-- Art Performance-Kerala theartrical arts peculiar to Kerala. The term Koothu literally means dance which may be taken as an index of the importance attached to dance in the
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original form of the art. As a matter of fact, the movements and facial expressions andthe signs and gestures employed by the actor in Koothu are said to approximate most closely to the principles laid down in the authoritative Sanskrit treatise on the subject, Bharatha's Natya Sastra.The actor recites stories from the epics (based on Sanskrit text) interpreting them in Malayalam, enlivening his narration with Thandava dance rhythms and also gestures and bodily postures which are clearly derived from Natya Sastra.The Koothu is very much dominated by the comic element. Impersonated through mime and gesture and interspersed with occasional dances, the narrative art of the Chakyar is essentially dramatic. Humorous, witty analogies and allusions to topical, political and social events are brought in during the narration and the dancer gets ample facilities for criticizing men and things of local interest. Seldom does the miss an opportunity to make comic comments on contemporary life and society. He ridicules the follies andTheyyam- Art Performance-Kerala foibles of the age with impunity.In actual performance the dancer stands on the platform of the Koothambalam adorned with his special type of headgear and peculiar facial make-up. He then offers prayers to the presiding deity of the particular temple where he is performing. After that he recites a verse from the Sanskrit text from which he intends to expound and then explains it in Malayalam.The instruments used are a pain of Cymbals and the mizhavu which is a big copper drum. A member of the Nambiar caste beats rhythm on the Mizhavu at the required intervals. The cymbals are played invariably by women known as Nangiyars.Koothu presented as a solo item by a Chakiyar is also known as Prabhandha Koothu. Occasionally, it is presented by a Nangiyar woman, when it is called Nangiyar Koothu.
This is a form of temple art. It's performed in temples of Godesses in Malabar area.Padayani-Art Performance, Kerala Theyyam is rare in South Kerala.Teyyam is a popular hindu ritual form of worship of nort Malabar in Kerala.According to the legendaryKeralolpathi, Parasurama sanctioned festivals like Kaliyattam, Puravela and
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Daivattam or Theyyattam to the people of the Malabar region. He also assigned the responsibility of performing the Theyyam dance to the indigenous tribal communities like Malayar, Panan, Vannan and Velan. "There can be no doubt", say Bridget and Raymond Alchin, "that a very large part of this modern folk religion is extremely ancient and contains traits which originated ruing the earliest periods of Neolithic, Chalcolithic settlement and expression" (The Birth of Indian Civilization 1968 p. 3039, and indeed, Theyyam is representative of a form of Hinduism (albeit non-Brahminical) having been practiced by tribal communities since time immemorial. This form of worship, often involving liquor and meat as offerings to Bhagawathi, Shiva, Vishnu, co-existed with the Sattvic rituals practiced by Nambudiri Brahmins in temples. In fact, Theyyam was nearly always sponsored by members of the ruling class, such as Nair feudal chiefs, and achieved much prominence, therefore Theyyam festivals and Temple festivals were celebrated with equal vigour. Theyyam is an artform of the Dravidians. And it has a revolutionary concept behind it since the Theyyam artists are from low-caste communities like Malayan, Vannaan etc. Even the high-caste people will have to worship the Gods come in the form of Theyyam, so we can say it was against the then caste-system in Kerala.
It is an ancient temple artform of Kerala. This is mostly performed in the Bhadrakaali(Goddess Kaali) temples of southern Kerala. Padayani depicts the war between Godess Kaali and Daarika and Daarika Nigraha.Padayani is celebrated during the months of Kumbham,Meenam, Medam ( Approximately February, March and April)
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is Kolamezhuthu, Kolamthullal, Kolappattu, Thappumelam, Vinodam (satire) are the essential parts of Padayani. Kolams are folk deities drawn on well processed green areca leaf sheath with natural colours. Kolappattu (lyrics) includes prayers, admirations and requests to deities. Thappu is the ‘Asuravadya’ made by covering round frame of Jacktree hardwood with buffalohide. Kolamthullal is the rhythmic footsteps and dances that a performer makes in tune with Kolappattu and Thappumelam. Vinodam includes satire and protest targeting social evils and vanities. Bearing Palakkolam singing Kolappatu, dancing with the thalam of thappu , the whole villagers pray to God to bring in prosperity, to eradicate the ill effects of wicked deities, to ensure goodies from crops and so on. It is a way of worship with no intermediary between man and God. Further, we find true man leading eco-friendly life, worshipping nature disregard of the philosophy of exploitation
It is believed that various forms of arts worshipping goddess Bhadrakaali prevailed much before the origin of temples. Once the worship of gods and goddesses started at the temples, various types of arts used to be performed to please goddess Bhadrakaali at Bhadrakaali temples. By and large, many of them were ruined while
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others continued to be Mudiyettu- Art Performance-Kerala performed systematicallyand in a more dramatic manner. "Mudiyettu" is one among them, a mixture of entertainment and devotion. The period of origin of Mudiyettu s un-traceable. This art is more of a ritual than dramatic. "Theeyaattu" is another ritual performed in Bhadrakaali temples, which is very much interconnected to Mudiyettu. Mudiyettu is the story of the war of Bhadrakaali with the two notorious Asuras Daarikan and Daanavendran, eventually Killing them, while in Theeyaattu, Bhadrakaali reports to Lord Paramasiva after the assassination and briefs the whole incident. Mudiyettu, compared to other forms of temple arts, is presented without much of `mudras', facemasks and facial expressions, but with facial make-ups and `chutti' (artwork done on face with rice paste) which makes the characters simple and more acceptable to the viewers. Originally these characters used to perform with speech and dance, but later on rhythmic steps were introduced which gives more life to the characters and makes the performance more interesting.Mudiyettu is a ritual art where viewers also participate in the performance. Once the artists get separated, ie, since they `come to the light', the scene becomes more dramatic. It can be inferred that the character `Kooli' in Mudiyettu is the first of its kind to amuse the viewers by comic speech and action.
Prevalent among the Kuravas of Thiruvananthapuram district, this group dance is very vociferous because of the shoutings of the participants and also the wild beating of primitive drums like para, veekkan, chanda etc.
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A group - dance of the Maplahs of Malabar. The performers form two rows of ten to twenty. They beat on the dappu which each dancer holds in his left hand and dance with exquisitely symmetrical swayings of the body and timing of dappu.
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A mixed dance in which both men and women participate. The performers move in a circle, striking small sticks and keeping rhythm with special steps. The circle expands and contracts as the dance progress. The accompanying music gradually rises in pitch and the dance reaches its climax .Sometimes it is performed on a specially constructed wooden stage .Thus the name thattinmelkali.
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This is very similar to kolkali and is the powerful folk-dance of the Muslims of the Malabar. Melodious Moplah songs are sung as the dances are performed. Small bells are attached to the ends of the sticks which the dancers hold in their hands.
An extremely vigorous ring - dance of the Vattuvar community. Both men and women participate in the dance. Twelve different types of 'steps' are executed. The beauty of the intricate footwork is heightened by the tinkling of anklets and bells and also by the rhythmic clapping of hand. The whirling movements become faster as the dancing reaches a climax. The dance is also called chuvadukali or chavittukali.
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Also known as marakkalattom, this is a still-dance performed in connection with temple festivals. Theme songs are sung in which the fight of the goddess Durga on stilts against the Asuras who attacked her in the guise of snakes, scorpions etc., are portrayed. The rhythm is kept by percussion instruments.
A folk dance prevalent among the Thiyyas of Malabarm, usuallyPoorakkalai- Art Performance-Kerala performed in Bhagavathy temples as a ritual offering during the month of Meenam (March - April ). Poorakkali requires specially trained and highly experienced dancers quite thorough with all the techniques and feat of Kalaripayattu,
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a system of physical exercise formerly vogue in Kerala. Standing round the traditional lamp, the performers dance in eighteen different stages and rhythm, each phase being called a Niram.
This is ritual dance propitiating the goddess Kali. Small temporary shrines are constructed and variously decorated. A branch of the Pala tree is taken round the temple by about 10 to 12 person who dance all the way to the rhythm set by percussion instruments and to the vociferous shouting and chanting of the
accompanying crowd. This part of the dance is called Pala Piditham. The branch is then installed in the centre of the shrine as the deity and Pooja is performed by the village leader. The pooja consist of offerings to the accompaniment of dancing round the deity. Then a person dances round the deity with burning torches. This is followed by ten to twelve persons again dancing round the deity with burning torches. This is followed by ten to twelve persons again dancing round with canes in their hands. After this, songs are sung glorifying the victory of Kali over Darika. The last part of the dance is velichapad thullal.
This is a dance prevalent among the Malavans of North Kerala. Models of oxen are made up with leaves and twigs, and carried on shoulders behind which numerous dancers with crude facial marks and skirts made of tender fronds of coconut, dance in exotic jubilance to the accompaniment of instruments like chenda and kinni (a bronze plate).
Kuravar belongs to the former untouchable class of people who were not permitted to enter the precincts of temples. The Kuravarkali dance is usually performed outside the temple walls in connection with festivals. The costumes of the dancers are peculiar with conical caps called pala thopi, white dhothi and red sash. Sandal paste is
smeared all over the body and face and garlands of red chethi flowers are worn. The dancers have anklets tied to the legs. The Kuravars circle round a traditional lamp and dance to the timing and rhythm set by percussion instruments like veekkan chenda.
Many ancient family houses in kerala have special snake shrines called Kavu. Sarpamthullal is usually performed in the courtyard of houses having snake shrines. This is a votive offering for family wealth and happiness. The dance is performed by members of a community called Pulluvar. In the first stage the Pulluvan draws a Kolam
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(picture) of two or more twining snakes in the courtyard. An oil - lit traditional lamp and one full measure (nirapara) each of paddy and rice are then placed in front of the kolam. In the second stage, the idol of the snake is brought out from the Kavu in a procession called thalapoli to the uproarious tumult of percussion instrument (panchavadya). A number of girls with their hair dressed up like the hoods of snakes and reminiscent of the legend of the naga kanyakas partake in this procession. The idol is placed in the kolam and the poojari performs ritual offerings while the girls sit in two rows on the side of the kolam. The poojari then dances round the kolam to the rhythmic beating of para and elathalam. All the while a pulluvan and pulluvathi will be singing special devotional songs set to tune and rhythem by nanduni (a primitive type of veena) and kudam ( a primitive form of modern khatam) respectively. As the song gathers momentum the girls go into a trance and began to dance, swaying their body slowly at first and steadily ascending in tempo. The dance finally erupts in a violent frenzy of rhythmic fervour.
This is a Spritual dance common with bhadrakalipattu, ayyappanapattu and veitaykorumakapattu. Since it seals with trances and evil spirits,only a few are allowed to perform it. Usually the members of the kallathukuruppanmar enjoy this right.In the first stageof the dance there is kalamezhuthu,in which the form of the
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deity is drawn on the floor with the aid of five types of coloured powders.Then devotional songs are sung to the accompaniment of nanthuni,a musical instrument.After this the dancer known as velichappadu enters,with red flowery clothes,red scarfs,a gridle of bells at the waist and a sword in hand slowly he gets into a trance and executes vigorous movements which is technically called idumkoorum chavittal.
Numerous miniature temples are constructed out of tender co-count frond and plantain leaf-stalks.Then songs are sung on the leg-endary right between ayyappan and Vavar.In tune with the various rhymes and rhythms of this devotional song,two dancers in the costume and make up of Ayyappan and Vavar perform, striking with
swords and defending with coconut fronds.The dancers exicutevigorous foot-movement.In the last stage,a huge fire called aazhiis lit and the dancers jump into the birning embers still dancing.
This is martial folk-dance which had its origin during the days when kalaripayattu,the famous physical exercises of swordplay and defence,wasin vogue in kerala.the performers dance with sword and shield on their hands,following the movements of sword fight leaping forward, stepping back and moving round,all the time striming
with the swords and degending with shields.Mateisl songs are sung throughout and the cymbals chime in perfect unions with the steps and the striking og swords against the shields.In the Malabar area theis dance is performed by Thiyyas and in the Travancore area by Christians.
This is martial folk-dance which had its origin during the days when kalaripayattu,the famous physical exercises of swordplay and defence,wasin vogue in kerala.the performers dance with sword and shield on their hands,following the movements of sword fight leaping forward, stepping back and moving round,all the time striming with the swords and degending with shields.Mateisl songs are sung throughout and the cymbals chime in perfect unions with the steps and the striking og swords against the shields.In the Malabar area theis dance is performed by Thiyyas and in the Travancore area by Christians.
A dance of the pulayar community. This is performed after the harvest. Models of oxen and horses are made out of bamboo and forest twigs and decorated with white clothes. Umbrellas of five to seven storeys are also similarly constructed and decorated with tender coconut fronds, flowers etc. These are taken round from house to house. The bearers execute a very simple dance, moving the legs to the left and right, front and back.
Mainly performed as a votive offering in temples where the presiding deity is lord Subrahmania. Here a number of dancers dressed in yellow or rose clothes and smeared all over the body with ashes and each with an ornate kavadi on the shoulder, dance in a row to the rhythmic beatings of instruments like udukku, chenda
etc. Sometimes nagaswaram is also used.
This is a devotional offering of pulayas for the deity Bhadrakali. Special pandals are constructed in the fields after the harvest and the dances are performed. They are quite drawn - out and have numerous phases. Different types of make - up and costumes are used for each phase and the participants dance to the acompainment of
devotional songs and percussion instruments.
A marital dance of the Nair community. This depicts ancient warfare in Kerala in all its ferocity and valour. Armed with shining swords and shields in exotic costumes they dance with vigour and force. The dance ends with the victory of good over evil.
The word Purathu means limitation or mimicy. It is a humorour folk-play which many characters like Chettiar, Chettichi, Kuravan and Kurathi are cleverly imitated to evoke laughter. The accompanying songs are almost Tamil. The purattu performed by Ezhavas or Pulayas.
This was popular dance form based on the Gita Govinda of Jayadeva. It was more of a dramatic representation of the renowned lyrical play. Altogether there are only five characters, Krishna, Radha, and three females. This form is now almost extinct (instruments chenda, maddalam, elathalam, chengala)
A refinement of Ashtapadiatoom, evolved by Manavedan, theKrishnattom- Art Performance-Kerala Zamorin was Krishnanattom. The whole story of Krishna was cast into a drama-cycle which would need eight nights for serial production. Vilwamangalam, a Krishna devotee, helped in designing the costume of Krishna. The
actors in this dance drama have to conform themselves to the ballet element and mimetic expression. The narrative song is left to the musicians.Krishnattom was created as a votive offering and it survives in that capacity in the temple of Guruvayoor where it is still performed. The dance drama is based on the text Krishna-Geetaha which is in Sanskrit. Many of the characteristics of the earlier ritual folk dances such as Thiyyattom, Mudiyettu and Theyyam are seen in Krishnattom especially in the painting of the face in intricate patterns, and the use of masks and colourful, gorgeous costumes and head-dresses. The make-up costumes and ornaments used in Krishnattom are almost similar to that seen in Kathakali, though in Krishnanattom, some of the characters are seen using painted masks made of wood. The gestural language and abhinaya are not very well developed. More importance is given to pure dance (nritta) and the stress is always on group movements and group compositions. All the eight night plays are full of beautiful dances. In no other dance could be seen so many characters performing the same dance with the same facial expressions, eye movements, gestures, foot-work (and set to the same rhythm), with so much of co-ordination, and grace, e.g., Mullappoothutal in Rasalila (Sree Krishna with Gopies) Kaliyamardana Nritham etc.
The word Purathu means limitation or mimicy. It is a humorour folk-play which many characters like Chettiar, Chettichi, Kuravan and Kurathi are cleverly imitated to evoke laughter. The accompanying songs are almost Tamil. The purattu performed by Ezhavas or Pulayas.A war dance which is the legacy of an ancient past. The dance is performed in circles and the dancers utter wild war cries as it gathers momentum. The group formations are many and varied and the power and variety of rhythm exquisite. There is steeping, hopping and squatting; every movement keeps perfect time with the strokes of the sticks which the dancers hold in their hands. Unique for its footwork and the striking of sticks which very closely resmbles the movements of the sword and the shield in ancient duels in Kerala. This dance is also known as kampadi kali and koladikali or kolkali.
Ammana is a hollow metallic ball which contains numerous metallic pieces inside. Women perform the ammanattom dance, using four to twenty-four ammanas which are thrown up and caught deft missing none. The jingling of the ammanas perfectly time with the rhythm of the Brahmani songs sung by the performer.
This is a votive offering performed in Bhagavathy temples. The costume of the dancer is as in Velichapppadu Thullal, red scarf on the head and a red flowery clothe at the waist. Anklets are tied to the legs. The performer goes round the deity, dancing to the rhymes set by chenda, maddalam, thimila and elathalam. After worshipping the deity
he gets over a one wheeld polatform over which is the pillar like utholakam. There is a hook at one end of the utholakam to which is attached the backside skin of the dancer. This end is then raised up. Hooked to the uthjolakam, the dancer is thus suspend in the air almost horizontally in which posture he executes certain physical feats and dance movements and the whole platform is taken round the temple deity thrice. Sometimes the make-up of the dancer will be in the shape of garuda, the mythological bird, hence the dance os called garudan thookam. In another local variation a number of dancers in the costume and make - up of garuda wings pleated skirts assemble before t6he temple deity and dance to the accompaniment of thimila, chenda, maddalam, elathalam etc. The dance is thus known as garudanparava.
Aivar Kali literally means the play of the five sets. This is performed by members of Asari, Moosari, Karuvan, Thattan, and Kallasari communities. It is often staged in connection with temple festivals like Veleda, Thalapoli etc. This is a ring dance in which the dancers with small sticks in their hands perform a vigorous and powerful dance. The twinkling of the bells attached to the sticks adds to the charm of the accompanying music which is skillfully varied to avoid monotony. With the singing, the dancing rises to a crescendo of rhythmic fervor and the dancers swirl round, feet in step and the sticks striking perfect time.
This is a form of social satire performed as domestic entertainment by members of the Variar and pisharady communities. A group of people gather round an oil-lit lam before which is copper potplaced upside down. It is by beating on the vessel with the hand that the rhythm is set. One from the groups stands up and asks a question in the form of a song to another in the group. Those who fail to answer have to enact various roles. Though devoid of much dance element, this humorous play gives plenty of scope for buffoonery and clowning which is done with great agility and gusto. This dance is almost extinct now.
A graceful group-dance of women, performed only very rarely nowadays s. the girls link their arms and form two lines. Facing each other, they move forward and backwards to the rhythm of songs. The head and body sway in perfect unison with the different steps executed. The case of movement and supple grace furnish an
experience of rare beauty and enjoyment. The songs are in the form of questions and answers in which one party request the other to give them a girl. The request is promptly refused, but is repeated along with offers of various ransoms and rewards and turned down time and again. In the end a mock trail-of war is executed between the two groups.
Sangha Kali is also known as Sastrakali, Chathirakali or Vatrakali.Chavittunatakam- Art Performance-Kerala Essentially a socio-religious dance which was a very favourite and popular pastime of Namboodiris, it was performed as a votive offering. The origin of Sanghakali may be traced to the numerous gymnasia (Known as Kalaris) in ancient Kerala where physical exercises and military training with special stress on physical feats and swordsmanship were given. Periodic celebrations were held in this Kalaris with special displays of skill in weapons and the techniques of combat. With the infiltration and stabilization of Aryan culture in the land, the Namboodiri Brahmins-the Aryan immigrants-entered these gymnasia and their participation and influence gave the celebrations a religious turn. A number of people with red scarfs on the head and red cloth on the wrist get together and the performance begins with a procession to the gymnasium to the accompaniment of the reverberation of the chenda, maddalam, elethalam and gong. The dance has a number of phases of ritual worship, recital of devotional songs, pure dance, comic interludes, etc. They include the kottichakampookal, kottiyarkal, pana, velichappadu, nalupadam, slokam, neetuvayana, kandappanpurappad, poli kaimalothika samvadam, paradesipurappad etc. The last phase of the dance is called Kudameduppu. It is martial in character and actually in the form of combat exercise displaying the skill in swordsmanship and the mastery of techniques in the use of other weapons. Of the dance part in sanghakali, the Kurathiyattom is the most graceful and eloquent.
A devotional offering performed in Bhadrakali temples. A set of performers known as Thiyyattunnis alone are entitled to perform it. The theme is usually the kingTheeyattu-Art Performance-Kerala of the Darika by Bhadrakali. The Unnis first draw the picture of Bhadrakali (called Kalam) on the floor, with a five different types of colour powers. A
decorated stool called Peedhom is placed in front, facing a traditional oil - lit lamp. Then the dancer in the costume and make - up pf Bhagavathy with special head gears, pleated skirts and painted face dances before the Kalam, to the accompaniment of devotional songs. A small sized chenda, thimila and kaimani are the instruments used. Sometimes Thiyattu is performed before the deity Ayyappan by a set of people known as Nampis. In the Ayappan Thiyyattu the make up and costume of the dancer is that of Nandikeswara.
This is ritual performed in connection with Vela, Pooram, Thalappoli etc., which are special festival in kerala temples. Mannamars are usually allowed to perform this dance, and very rarely panar and pulaya. The concept is that the devil - aides (Bhootham) of load Shiva are coming to see and enjoy the temple festival. The make
up of the Bhoothams consists of peculiar customers, at once colourful and captivating. Large headgears, projecting rounded eyeballs, high ridged noses, protruding tongue, flowing back hair behind the pleated skirts and overcoats all conspire to make the dancers appear completely supernatural. Each dancers has a girdle of bell. Anklets are also attached to the legs and each dancers holds a shield and club in his hands. A variety of dancers are executed to the rhythm set by an instrument called thudi.
This is a ritual offering usually performed to get rid of the troubles caused evil - spirits. Here a number of characters, with hideous make-up and flat big head - gears dance to the accompaniment of primitive percussion instruments. The costumer of the dancers are highly decorative and rich in colour and brilliance. There is no accompanying song.
Panarkali is mirthful dance of the panar of malabar area. Here two characters, a male and a female called Thekken an Thekkethy respectively, stage a mock quarrel as in Kurathiyattom. But the song which are in the nature of questions and answers between husband and wife, show the suspecting husband’s inquisitive queries and the clever replies of an intelligent wife. A jester who criticize and makes fun of the customs and manner of the members of the upper strata of society also participates in the dance at later stage. In some places instead of panars the Kakkalans prform this dance and hence is known as Kakkarissi natakam.
This dance, also known as vishuvela, is a ceremonial dance of Parayas held during the sowing season. There are two dancers, one in the make up of Bhootham and the other like a velichappadu with red scarf and sword. They go about from house to house to the accompaniment of percussion instruments and offered a full measure of paddy. This is called parayadeppu. Then they move to temple where the thullal (dance) and kalpikkal (divine ordering) are performed. It is accompanied by songs which seek blessings for an early and bountiful crop. Certain variations of this dance are also seen in palakkad district where it is called Vithiduka or Kathiru.
Kurathi are a set of gypsies who go about from place to place telling fortunes. In this dance called Kurathiyattom, two Kurathis first enter dancing, in the guise of characters representing the wives of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Then they stage a controversy through songs over the exploits of their respective husbands. The favourable point in
one's favour becomes the but of ridicule at the other's hands and while one praises profusely the other condemns sarcastically. This is interpreted with fluent mime and brought out in picturesque postures. The gestures, bodily flexions and foot- work, show perfect co-ordination and rhythmic grace. After this Kuravan (male) and Kurathi enters and enact a mock quarrel. Though lacking in dramatic element, the technique is skillfully exploited and the exposition of different-Art Performance, Kerala moods-suspected chastity, injured innocence, disappointment and the joy of reconciliation - are of a high artistic level. Maddalam , Kaimani etc., are the instruments used.
This is a dance in which only women participate. It is usually performed in connection with the Onam festival. All the girls are dressed in immaculate Onakkodi dress and sit round in a circle. At the centre of the circle sits the performer. Now all the girls sing in chorus to the rhythmic clapping of hands and occasional vociferations know as
Kuravai. The rhythm and the pitch of the clapping and the songs rise to feverish when the girl in the centre enters into a trance and begins to dance.
This is women's dance prevalent in Kerala. The dancers move in a circle and the hand gestures signify reaping and harvesting. One of the women leads the singing with a favourite song while the rest take up the refrain. Each performer renders a new line in turn and the dancing stops when all get tired. In local variations of the Kummi dance
men also participate. Here the men with small sticks in their hands form a circle, inside which stand the women in a smaller ring. The beating of the sticks by men and the clapping of the hands by women are perfectly synchronised with the steps that they make and also with the rhythm of the songs.
One of the centuries old, but well-known folk dance of Kerala. Kanniya Kali (also known as Desathukali) is a fast moving, militant dance from attuned to rhythmic devotional folk songs and asuravadyas. It is said to be a ritual offering in honour of the deity Bhagavathy. The dances last for four days and are preceded by three days of Karivela and Vattakali. The programme for each day is known by different name; the first day's kanniyarkali being called Erawakkali and the next three day's items being known as Aandikootu, Vallon and Malama respectively. There are more than forty "steps" or puratts for the four-day programme and these are unique and impressive. Though performed by Nairs, Kanniyarkali depicts the life of the Malayans, one-time slaves and dependents of the feudal chieftains and jenmies of the Malabar area in Kerala. The accompanying folk songs also throw some light on the ancient feudal relationship. Musical instruments like chenda, maddalam, elathalam and chengala are used to time the rhythm. The costumes are very colourful.
This is a group dance of the Parayas of Malappuram district in which the dancers strike rhythm on a small drum (thappu). A vigorous powerful dance it gradually rises to a crescendo of rhythmic fervour with the dancers swirling round their feet in steps, and hands striking perfect time.Theyyam-Art Performance, Kerala
This is a ritual dance performed before Bhagavathy temple in connection with festivals. The concept is that the devil-aide of goddess Bhadrakali performs this dance after the death of Darika. The costumes of the Thira are colourful and captivating. The large headgears, projecting eyes, high-ridged noses, protruding tongues, flowing black hair behind the pleated skirts and overcoats all make the dancers completely supernatural. For each dancer there is a girdle of bells. Anklets are also tied to the legs. A variety of dances are executed to the rhythm set by different folk drums. The dance is usually performed by Parayas.
This is a mixed dance of the Cherumar community ( mainly agricultural labourers) of the Malabar area of Kerala in which both men and women participate. They hold dancing arms together, or shoulder to shoulder, linked in a back-lock. The dance develops into a variety of pleasing pattern, in which the men and women change their
positions with theamazing rapidly. The entire group of dancers sing songs and move dexterously in swift rhythm of the feet in fascinating wave-like movement. The costumes of the dancers are peculiar with conical caps called palathopi, dhoti and red sash. Sandal paste is smeared all over the body and face and garlands of red chethi flowers are worn. The dancers have anklets tied to the legs and dance to the timing and rhythm set by percussion instruments like veekkan chenda, karu, maram, etc. The dance is performed by usually after harvest and in connection with marriage and festivals.
This art form is performed to drive out evil spirits from hons. It is believed that Pakkanar and his wife visit the hayses. They dance in tiyn with the beat of different drums. Usually this art form is performed during Onam festival.
This is in vogue in Thiruvananthapuram District, performed mostly in Devi temples. A performer, wearing a crown, similar to the used by the 'Ottanthulal' artiste, and three other characters, with three different facial make-ups, dance rhythmically to the background of percussion instruments. The songs are in praise of Durga, 'Padapattu',
'and Kalaripattu' and songs in praise of deities. It is usual to have partitioners of red silk at the performing arena.
Victory of the good over the evil is the concept behind the theme. The theme of the dance revolves around great heroes of ancient times. The art form is popular in the Central Travancore.
Thirayattom is performed as part of festive celebrations in Kavus in Central Malabar. The word thira means lustre and the Thirayattom dance is said to cast radiance by vertue of his gorgeous array, made all the more dazzling by the blaze of torches, made of clusters of dried coconut fronds. The performers, through appropriate costumes, assume the roles of the divinities they hold in veneration. Thirayattom is the hereditary profession of Vannan community.Oppana-Art Performance, Kerala.
Oppana is an exquistic folk dance art form performed traditionally among the muslim community in Kerala. The song and dance programme is performed by females to entertain the bride and by males to entertain the bridegroom. Harmonium, tabla and ganjra are the musical instruments used. The songs are based on mappila pattu .
Margam kali is an art form popular among the Syrian Christian community of the erstwhile Travancore. This consists of group dances and martial arts like parichamuttu kali. The theme of the songs revolves round the life of St.Thomas.
Aadivedan is an ancient folk art prevalent in certain areas of Kannur district. Aadi and Vedam represent parvathy and siva. All the characters who enact these two roles normally belong to two different communities. It is performed during day time.
Arjunanritham is a popular dance from in Alleppey and KottayamArt Performance, Kerala districts. This is performed by one or two persons at night and the lighting is done by the traditional lamp called 'Nilavilakku'. Arjunan was proficient in dance among the Pandavas and he is supposed to have danced and sung praising
Bhadrakali. Since the lower part of the garments of the dance is made of peacock feathers, the dance is also known as "Mayilpeeli Thookkam".
Kummattikali is a mask dance popular in South Malabar. The dancers wear brightly painted wooden masks. During onam season groups of dancers donning masks and adorning themselves with leaves and grass go from house to house. The songs are melodious and deal with devotional themes. The rhythm is provided by vibrating the
string of a bow-like instrument called onavillu.
This is a ritualistic art prevalent in Malappuram District. A horse is fashioned with bamboo splints and tender fronds of the coconut palm. This horse is lifted and carried on the shoulders of the performers who dance to the rhythm of Chenda and to the accompaniment of songs sung by them.
This art forms is performed in Kannur District. The leader along with the troupe go to each house, play on the Chenda and begins to sing. Two charactors with face masks made out of the stalk of coconut fronds and with yellow tassels of Kuruthola sing the refrain. Along with this they go through an enactment of comical gestures. There comedy charactors are known as Paniyans. Another charactor the representation of bull, worn round his waist, dances in peculiar style. Kotha means child and Moori means bull. This is an entertainment which the Malayans performs when the harvest is ever.
Kozhipporukali is meant as a community entertainment. The main features of the performance is the signing of a rhythmic song, about cock fight, with performs holding staves two to three feet long, with which they drives stylized blows in the air and show off their valour. Background accompaniments are provided by bells and dolak. There are many intricate martial movements which the performers go through. At the end of each complex move the performers shout in imitation of cook's crow. After commencing in a slow tempo this is worked up to a high pitch before the performance concludes. This art form is prevalent in Chirayinkizhu, Kilimanoor and Pazhaya kunnummal at Thiruvananthapuram District.
This dance from is presented in some temple where the installed deity is Badrakali. Two or three dancers in the garb of Garuda, dance to the ehythm of percussion instruments. The dance is known as the Thookakaran. In limitation of Garuda (the bird king) the dancers preen the feathers with their beaks, carry snakes in the beak,
dance with wings spread in circle, in an ecstasy of joy. And this, against the background of the rhythm of the instruments, the shouts of the on lookers, and the bursting of crackers, all of which combine to produce the effect of a battle. At the end, the Thookakaran climbs into a cart, circumambulates the temple and the donates blood. While goddess Kali was fighting demon Darika, Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, flew round and round and viewed the scene. Even after slaying Darika, the flaming anger of the goddess was not assuaged. She turned against Garuda. Though he pleaded a thousand times for pardon, the terrible goddess clamed down only after drinking three drops of Garuda's blood. This art forms, a votive offering, revives this theme. Instruments like the Chenda, Maddalam, Cymbals, Horns etc. are used. This art for is prevalent in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts.-Art Performance, Kerala
Popular in Malaappuram District. This is performed by the Pulaya Community. This entertainment is presented during temple festivals or during Onam, Vishnu and such other festive days. When the performers stand in a circle, the leader of the troupe recites two lines of a song. The others repeat the lines. After doing this twice, they dance in a circle, with hand gestures, to a peculiar kind of rhythm. When the song nears the end, the tempo of the dance rises. Mostly the rhythm remains unchanged. But the steps, could be circular and diagonal. No percussion instruments or lighting effects are used.
Prevalent in many areas of Ponnani and Thirur Taluks in Malappuram District. In the garb of Chathan, a village deity, they dance to the accompaniment of percussion instruments like the Chenda etc. In both hands the dancers of Kolams carry two short sticks. They click these sticks together rhythm. Each particular dance sequence takes about ten minutes. A particular type of Chenda is used as background rhythm. Usually this is performed during day time. A linon cloth jingling bell round the waist and heavy clanking anklet and on the head, a headdress made of arecanut frond's base and tender coconut frond's. A face mask of arecanut frond base, with an exaggerated nose. These form the costume.
Prevalent in Thrissur District. Children don the garb of Chozhi. The elders don the costumes of kalan, Chitragupta, Muthiyamma. The leader stands in the midst of children, garbed as Chozhi. The leader makes the Chozhis sit in a circle round him and begins to sing. The Chozhis clap their palams. Later, the elder in the garb of Kalan (God of Death) and Chitragupta enter to the accompaniment of yells. The Muthiammasings humorous songs. After commencing the performance, in a vacant lot, the performers go from house to house and perform this. The costume of Chozhi consists of dried plantain leaves, tied all over the body. And two horns would be sticking out from the forehead. Kalan and Chiragupta wear black clothes and masks of terrifying aspects with fangs bared.
This is an art form where physical culture amount much. It is prevalent in Malappuram District, and is performed by the Thiyas. It is said that this used to be popular as a performance during the celebrations of Thaikettu (a ritual in which the young girls who attain puberty go through a mock marriage) The performers stand in circle and sing to a .rhythm. After that they carry plates in both palms and go through intricate twisting and turning. And along with this are shown various types of gestures too. However intricate the twisting and turning, the plates will remain stuck to the palms with a pot full of water on the head and plates carried on the palm, various dances are also exhibited
This is prevalent in Kannur District and in some parts of Kozhikode District, in North Kerala. Namboodiris conducted the dance. Marar play on percussion instruments. Person belonging to the Nambissan, Varier, Unithiri communities, serve as assistance. One namboodiri to bear the Thidambu, seven players on percssion instruments, two persons to carry lamps, in all ten persons are needed to present this. The dance is performed with the decorated effigy of the Devi carried on the head. Foot work is most important and this is executed to the rhythms of the drums. The step are at turned to various rhythms like Thakiladi Adantha, Chembada, Panchari.
This is a ritualistic art, performed by the Pulaya and Kurava communities. Theyyannam is found in Mavelikara, Pandalam and some places in Alappuzha District. When man turned to cultivation, his liking and respect for this began to increase. Though he cultivates different crops, he has a partiality for paddy cultivation. This is the theme of Theyyannam. Eight men plough up a field and plant seedlings. At this stage the women folk enter, with breakfast for their menfolk. In the ploughed up field, the women start replanting the seedlings. With women on one side and men on the other side, the preliminary work of agriculture is completed. After this comes the harvest and then the threshing. Thus all stages of paddy cultivation are represented. Harmonium, Daka and Tabala are needed as musical accompaniments
Popular in Palakkadu and Malappuram Districts. This is handled by the panars. Their daily profession is the making of palm leaf umbrellas. Two charectors (one male and one female) and two percussion in instrumentalists from a troupe. The characters sing, exchange dialogues and perform stylised movements, through well defined steps. The instrumentalists repeat the songs and put questions to the characters. Some portions from the Ramayana from the theme of the play, sometimes, portions from the Mahabharatha are also used. When needed by the actors the accompanists keeps time with tiny cymbals (Kuzhithalam).
This is known also as Pavakoothu and Nizhalkoothu. Prevalent in Palakkadu and Ponnani Taluks. This is handled, traditionally, by Pulavanmars. The Pavakal, or pupples are made of deer skin, to represent characters in the Ramayanam epic. The puppets are arranged behind along curtain. Behind the puppets brightly burning oilwick lamps
are kept. The singer recites songs from the kamba Ramayana. To the trend of the song, the puppets are made to move and dance. When the song ends, an entertaining description of the puppet characters takes place. A Chenda in the shape of Para (measure) Idora is used to give percussion effects.
Popular in Thiruvananthapuram and Chirayinkizhu taluks and in Kilimanoor, Pazhayakunnummal and Thattathumala regions. This is in vogue among vedars, Parayars and Kuravar tribes. Eight persons for the dance and two to play percussion instrumentsin all ten persons are needed for staging this. From among the eight performers, two each, twin around each other like serpents and rising up, battle it out with sticks. The techniques are repeated several times. Sandalwood paste on the forehead, a red towel round the head, red silk around the waist and bells round the ankles. These from the costume. This is a combination of snake workship and Kalaripayattu.
In vogue in Chittoor Taluk in Palakkad District. This is a dramatic visual art. This ritualistic art is handled by those belonging to the Pariah community. An artist in the costume of Ganapathy appears first on the stage. He is followed by such characters as Panakaran (Richman) his servant, his two wives, a Kolkaran (he is also the
comedian). After the other characters make their entry the Ganapathy with draws. Then the theme is expounded. The leader sings a song in Kavu style. According to the meaning of the song, those on the stage start acting and singing the dialogues. Of the two wives of the rich man, one turns informer against him. This and the misfortunes that follow upon this, form the core of the theme. On account of the prayers of the other wife it all ends happily. The male characters have costumes similar to those of Kathakali. The female characters don dhoties and upper cloth. Facial makeup is used. The female characters tie up their hair. Nandanar, who was refused admission into the temple, but finally got himself admitted through high devotion and won many devotees to him, is presented through this art form, with the help of music and dancing.
This art form is in vogue all over Kannur District. This is fully ritualistic in scope. This is usually performed for the sake of those women who have miscarriages and who are advised by the astrologers to have this ritual. Under a decorated 'Pandal', Kalams are drawn with the help of rice flour, charcoal powder and turmeric powder. The pregnant woman sits in front of this Kalam. Actors in the garbs of deities like Raktheswari, Gulikan, Yakshi, come and dance in front of the kalam.

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