Dances of Kerala
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
colouring 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.
There are more than
fifty well-known folk dances in Kerela. Of them the Kaliyattom, Mudiyettu,
Kolam Thullal,Padayani, Kolkali, Parichamuttukali, Thappukali, Kuravarkali,
and Thiruvathirakali are the most popular.
Among the ancient and indigenous performing art forms in Kerala are the
ritual dances known as Mudiyettu, associated with the Goddess Bhagavathi,
the wife of Lord Siva.. These dance forms glorify the goddess and their
themes revolve around the triumph of the goddess over the demon Daruka
and other evil characters.
Theyyam or Kaliyattam
Theyyam 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.
Kaikottikali, also known as Thiruvathirakali is a very popular symmetric
group of dance by the women of kerala, and is often performed during the
festive season of Onam.
Is a mixed dance in which both men and women participate. The performers
move in a circle, stricking small sticks and keeping rhythm with special
This huge and wonderful festival is a replication of the cultural extravaganza
that used to be held every 12 years by the Zamorins (ancient rulers of
Kozhikode) in the middle ages
This is martial folk dance, which had its origin during the days when
Kalaripayattu, the famous physical exercise of swordplay and defence was
in vogue in Kerala.
This art form is very similar to Koothu on gestures and movements, but
the narration is through prose and song sequences.
A folk art also known as Poothanum Thirayam was commonly performed in
the Bhagavathy temples of Malappuram & Palakkad. Pootham is the character
that accompanied Durga in her combat with Darika.
This is a group of dance of the Parayas of Malappuram district in which
the dancers strike rhythm on a small drum.
Kuravar belong 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.
This is a ritual offering usually performed to get rid pf the troubles
caused by evil-sprits.
This is a folk art, noted for the procession of huge, colorfully decorated
images of bulls.
A Muslim bridal group dance performed the day before the wedding day.
This colorful ritual art is symbolic of the victory march of goddess Kali
after she defeated the demon Darika. The art form has some resemblance
Kerala in Details