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Home - Kerala Dance

Kerala Dance

Kerala Dance, kerala Travel Tours  Kerala has a rich repertoire of folk dances. They reflect the temperaments and moods of the localities in music and costumes and are highly developed. Religious coloring is mostly seen in almost all of these folk dances, even in those performed in connection with harvests, sowing of seeds festivals etc. Men alone, some exclusively by women, perform many of these dance forms. There are also dances in which men and women perform together. Most of the folk dances are performed to the accompaniment of songs, which are sung by the dancers themselves or occasionally by a group of musicians. Some are performed to the accompaniment of musical instruments only.

In several dances the performers form a circle and clap as they dance. Sometimes, instead of clapping they strike small sticks, which they hold in their hands. The costumes and ornaments are peculiar to the places to which they belong. In these folk dances there is no difference between the performers and the audience. Almost all of these dances are simple but beneath this simplicity are a profundity of conception is a directness of expression, which are of a high artistic order.

Some of the popular classical dances of Kerala include Koothu, Kathakali, Mohiniattom, Patokom, etc. The most famous dance form in Kerala is the internationally acclaimed 300-year-old classical form of Kathakali, which combines aspects of ballet, opera, masque and pantomime. Kathakali depicts events and excerpts from great Indian epics and puranas, presented by dancers decked in huge skirts and headdress, and wearing a unique style of makeup. The richness of this enchanting fusion of tradition, color, music, expression and drama is one of a kind and unmatched in any other dances of Kerala. Contributing substantially to the rich heritage of dances of Kerala is the modern dance composition. Although these dances do not have any real roots in the age old dance traditions of the land, they mime some features of tribal, folk and classical dances.

Mohiniattam Dance

Kerala Dance, kerala Travel PackagesMohiniattam is one of the major classical dance styles of India. Mohiniattam from Kerala is perhaps one of the most graceful dances and totally identifies with the green environment; gentle singing of the palm trees and the calm ocean waters of Kerala. Kerala has always preserved all traditional arts and the people of the state consider it an integral part of everyday life.

In the word Mohiniattam, Mohini means a maiden who charms the onlooker and attam means dance. Usually the legends in India link the name of Mohini to that of God Vishnu who had assumed the beautiful form of Mohini to entice Demon Bhasmasura and finally destroyed him. It is said that the demon had a boon, which granted him immortality. He could die only if a hand was placed on his head. Mohini danced and made Bhasmasura also dance with her and suddenly for a moment placed her hand on her head. Bhasmasura too followed without thinking and then came his end. There is a common belief that perhaps the dance form got its names from this episode.

The beauty of Indian classical dance is also its appropriate and relevant costume and jewelry. The traditional costume of Mohiniattam is white with gold. The distinctive style of Mohiniattam is the complete absence of heavy stamping and rhythmical tension. Footwork in Mohiniattam is gentle and soft and sliding. The movements are never abrupt, they are dignified, easy and natural, but the vertical line of the body is never broken. Hence, among the styles detailed by Bharata Muni in the ancient Indian treatise on dance, the Natya Sastra, Mohiniattam resembles the Kaisiki type meaning graceful.

Kerala Dance, kerala Travel Tour PackagesTheyyam other wise known as kaliyattom, is an ancient socio-religious ceremony performed in Kerala since very remote times. socio-religious ceremony performed in Kerala since very remote times. As the word kaliyattom denotes this is a sacred dance performance for kali. Kaliyattom is sometimes called Theyyattom because every thera or village was duly bound to perform it. In ancient times every village of Kerala has its own common shrine called Kavu and it was imperative to have kaliyattom performed in front of it. As the word kali has also the meaning of safety in Malayalam, Kaliyattom may have the significance of a sacred dance for social or family safety.

Kathakali Dance
Kerala Dance, kerala Holiday PackagesKerala owes its transnational fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance form which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. It is said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kottiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakali explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas. Presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls Kathakali is heralded by the Kelikottu or the beating of drums in accompaniment of the Chengila (gong). The riches of a happy blending of color, expressions, music, drama and dance are unparalleled in any other art form.

Considered to be one of the oldest art forms the Kathakali Dance originated in the state of Kerala. Elaborate and intricate make up; heavy embellishments and depictions of Indian epic make Kathakali Dance a class apart. Generally performed in the temples of Kerala, the Kathakali depicts the stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The most interesting part of the Kathakali Dance is the make up where dancers adorn themselves with different colors that clearly establishes their character. The make up is an elaborate process which takes most of the time in Kathakali Dance.

From the rich kings to the disguised demons and hunters Kathakali Dance depicts the stories of all the mythological characters with intricate eye movements and graceful steps. Actors, dancers, vocalist and percussionists all of them are involved in the dance drama. The dance forms are mainly emotive rather than concentrating too much on the narration.

An age old dance form Kathakali Dance was finally resurrected by Vallathol in the 1932 by establishing Kalamandalam. The masters of Kathakali Dance are Padmanabhan Nayar and Sadanam Balakrishnan.

Duffmuttu Dance, kerala Travel TourDuffmuttu Dance
Another dance form especial to the Muslim community of Kerala is Duffmuttu (also called Aravanmuttu), the origin of which can be traced back to the Arabs. It is still accompanied by Arabic music. Aravanmuttu is also called Duffmuttu. The name is attributed to the use of an instrument called duff or tap. Duff is a round percussion instrument with one side covered with hide and is used to produce rhythm.

While performing, the leader of the group sings the lead, while the others form the chorus and move in circles. The songs are often tributes to martyrs, heroes and saints. Like oppana, Duffmuttu is also staged as a social event during festivals and nuptial ceremonies. Duffumuttu is performed by the male members of the community.

Theyyam Dance
Theyyam Dance, kerala Travel PackagesThe Theyyam or Theyyattam is a popular ritual dance of north Kerala. As a living cult with centuries old traditions, ritual and custom, it embraces almost all castes and classes of Hindu religion in this region. The term Theyyam is a corrupt form of daivam or God. It is a rare combination of dance and music and reflects important features of a tribal culture. People at these districts consider Theyyam as God and they get blessings from Theyyam.

Come and visit a land of bright colors, long standing traditions and ritualistic dances. Theyyam is a ritualistic dance performed in Kerala, South India and is an art form that celebrates the glory and courage of the unsung Kerala heroes. Bright and somewhat grotesque make up, colorful costumes and bright headgears characterize the dancers who perform Theyyam. The lively footwork, ritualistic vitality and gymnastic fervor that symbolize the courage and valor of the heroes of Kerala, South India adds an element of mysterious magnetism to this rare art form.

Theyyam represents a period of glory of the Kerala folk life. It is actually believed that Gods and Goddesses come and possess these dancers as they begin to perform. The instruments used to create the lively music for Theyyam performances include the Drum, Cherututi, Chermangalam, Cymbal, Conch, Perumbara and more.

Kutiyattam Dance
 Dances, kerala Travel PackagesKutiyattam Dance is one of the popular dances of Kerala. There are a number of arts and crafts practiced in Kerala, including dance, martial arts, and ritual arts. The dance forms of Kerala bear the legacy of the traditional art and craft of Kerala. One of the classical performing arts of Kerala, Kutiyattam dance of Kerala is worth a watch on your tour to Kerala. It is a composition of dramatics, acting, and dancing. Kutiyattam is probably the oldest dance-drama existing in India, claiming to be nearly 2000-year-old.

Kutiyattam dance is performed by members of the Chaakkyaar community. It is presented as a dedicated offering in Koothambalams, special theatres housed inside the confines of temples. The performance of Kutiyattam dance is based on Sanskrit texts. A single act of Kutiyattam play may be staged for 10 to 15 days, lasting 2-3 hours each day. Two significant characters of Kutiyattam dance are Vidooshaka and Chaakkyaar.

The Vidooshaka mimes several characters to make the atmosphere for the play interesting, and translates the Sanskrit text of the drama in Malayalam for the local people to understand the story. The Chaakkyaar presents in the introductory part of the performance all the essentials of the play, by applying wit, humor and sarcasm in his speech. Kutiyattam dance is a spectacular combination of intricate gesture language, chanting, inflated expressions of the face and eyes, elaborate headdresses and a gaudy make-up. Mizhavu drums, small cymbals, idakka drum, wind instrument kuzhal, and conch shell are used to provide music for the play.

Kolkkali Dance
 Dances, kerala Holiday Travel Tour PackagesKolkkali Dance is one of the popular dances of Kerala. There are a number of arts and crafts practiced in Kerala, including dance, martial arts, and ritual arts. The dance forms of Kerala are mainly folk dances, and bear the legacy of the traditional art and craft of Kerala.

Kolkkali dance of Kerala is performed mainly by the farmers. It is a highly rhythmic dance, known for its exhibition of physical skills, in which a group of dancers wield small sticks. A group often has 12-24 performers each with two sticks in hand. A harmonious synchronization of the tapping of feet to the clapping of sticks sets the rhythm of this amazing dance. w

The dancers sing and move in a circle around a nilavilakku as they dance and strike the small sticks in harmony. Though the dancers break away to form various patterns, they keep rhythm with special steps. As the Kolkkali dance progresses, the circle expands and contracts. The pace and rhythm of the dance differs from phase to phase as the accompanying music gradually rises in pitch and the dance culminates.

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