Kerala dance forms

Kerala, the home of tradition and ancient culture is an abode of numerous dance forms that defines the civilization of one transition. With every fold of time, Kerala always had something different and today out of 100 for instance 50 comes straight from the womb of Kerala. The dance forms are solely cultural, social and religious beside that some dance forms defines the political vendetta. So in all different dance forms reflects the union of the state.


The surreal of all, the Kathakali is a womb from where other forms of dance got its birth, magnifying in its style Kathakali is performed by male dancers and it is a theatrical show that calls for cultural commiseration. Stylized art is more intense with its costume and make-ups as it holds the stage through an expression that either defines the anger of Devil or pleasantry of god. The ethics of Kathakali is related to idea and story Ramayana and Mahabharata. The mythological effect is a sole of Kathakali and to elaborate it more wisely traditional drums are used and two singers from the back would come to narrate the story for better understandings.


Sensual in nature, Mohiniyattam is really a seducing act as it is performed by women. The story is much more concentrated with the mythical metamorphosis of Lord Vishnu. The dance form replicates the story associated with Lord Vishnu and to perform it with grace, the costumes, headgears, ornaments etc are put into picture. The most ideal ceramic of the dance form is its gentle movements and grace of body.

Theyyam Dance

It is one of the extra ordinary dance forms you would ever witness as it is sacred and defines the wrath of Devi Kali through its posture. The mythological accounts states that it was created by Lord Parasuram, the creator of Kerala. Dance form is performed in temple and it is more renowned particularly in horizons of Kannur and Kasargod. Theyyam is a heroic act and it is always performed by men through elaborate make ups and ornaments.


Othamthullal is a product of Malayalam poet Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar and it was put into picture during 18th century. During an early start the dance style was more identical to single actor and it was one act play but later it became a prodigy of group and today it stands as a group act. The bottom line of Ottamthullal is same it tells the story and has a satirical touch.


It shares its history with Sanskrit theatre art and as a part of Sanskrit art it is considered as integral cultural novice of Kerala. Traditionally, it was first put into picture in temples for good scores of time before it became officially theatrical with musical tools and costumes coming to play an important role to change the entire story. It is often humorous and scenes are played together by group, the critics could be considered as punch line and it delivers message either social or political.


A product of 18th century, the dance form is exclusive as compare to other traditional arts as it stages an art with a playful act. Thullal is an instance of dance and recitation beside that tales or stories are brush out from Puranas. The presentation is humorous and satiric type. The most surprising element of Thullal is it is performed while singing and dancer is a sole narrator beside that he is unaccompanied by secondary singer to continue the chain. Make ups are no difference and ornaments are as cultural as you would expect it to be.


This one is interesting as it talks about rituals of Muslim community living in Kerala. The dance form shares its history with Arabs and Arabic music is played to orchest the brilliant art. The tap you could say it as it rocks along with rhythms of music. The dance form is performed by group and lead dancer would hold the baton of singing and other would play the chorus part. The songs are often dedicated to martyrs, heroes and saints and it is concentrated to male performers.


The dance form is performed by women of Hindu community and it is often put into show during important festivals like Onam and the Thiruvathira day in the Malayalam month of Dhanu. The sole idea of dance form is to find bliss in martial relationship and it is one magical act to witness. The group of women without much of heavy costumes and simple make over moves surreally and forms circle in accordance to rhythm which is created by claps of hand.


Thiruvathirakali sometime more renowned as Kaikottikkali is a traditional dance of Kerala performed by group of women during religious festivals. The dance form reflects an utmost faith of maids on god as they believe participation would bring bliss in martial life. The style of dance is rather simple and elegant as it includes element of lasya or the amorous charm. Surprising element of the dance is Tandava which was later included allowing men to be a part of style; the same became dominant form in Malabar region of Kerala.


Theyyam an absolute paradox to theatrical show is one of the most popular rituals of Kerala and it is more indigenous to North Malabar region as it is performed by people belonging to lower caste. Theyyam itself is a god of lower community and people and through illustration of rituals and performance they pay homage to their saviour. Theyyam in holds invigorating status and its existence defines the history of the people performing such rituals. It is cultural and spiritual at the same it is a part of folk culture but strictly not related classical cult.


It is a product of Kunchan Nambiar, an alternate to the Chakyar Koothu. The poetic confession and performance is a major highlight and it came into limelight during 18th century when other forms were well flourished. The traditional theatrical dance form although not solely classical is amongst the toughest things to act as performer would have to sing, tell the story and dance along with the troops. The point of origin leads to an understanding of social satire and it came out as open criticism to the socio-political structure of the state.


Dance of enchantress is women oriented and its mythological story pay heed to the glory of Lord Vishnu who took a form of Mohini to save Lord Shiva from his outrage. The style of dance is semi classical and the word Mohini relates to a maiden who steals the heart of onlooker. The dance form is comes under the fold of Indian classical dance which is recognized by the Sangeet natak academy. The movements of dance in particular are very graceful and with utmost simplicity they perform an act to steal the heart.


Koodiyattam, the historic form of dance is truly traditional and in common most theatrical plunging deep into spiritual phenomenon to recess the soul. Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar and his troop were possibly the first to highlight the glory of arts.It was in 1962, the first stage base performance was put into picture but its origin backs the date of ancient civilizations. The stage base performance outside Kerala was realized for the first time and initiative made it clear it was worth saying traditional and theatrical.


Kolkali is primarily a folk dance, community concentrated as it is performed by tribal people living in Northern Malabar region of Kerala. The rhythmic dance step is performed by group of locals and with sticks it taps the beat and sing along with it while moving in circle and breaking the progression. The dance form is very interesting as it has numerous moves but tempo is a main thing as it gets faster and faster with every verse and tap of the beat with sticks moves with speed to match the steps.


Stylized Indian classical dance is noted for its defining expression, elaborate makeups, interesting costume and characters. The dramatic performance is cultural and religious beside that it is one of the oldest forms of arts performed by masculine gender of Kerala. It is a true instance of theatrical act and magnificent posture makes it one of the leading in Indian history. It is a theme base art and it coincide the story of Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Hindu epics to create a wave of imagination in minds of spectators.

Chakyar koothu

Chakyar koothu as compare to traditional forms of arts is rather performance art performed by masculine gender. The dance form is socio political and often humorous as it digs deep on social satire to awaken public. The religious aspect holds the story of Mahabharata, Ramayana, Vedas and Puranas. The Chakyar koothu for spectators would be a whole new experience beside that it would be interesting to see how they portray the music and delivers a message to people.

Bharata Natyam

To understand an instance of true classical dance form, spectators needs to see the gracious posture of Bharatnatyam that was originated and nurtured in divine temples and courts of South India. Bharat Natyam solemnly is a heritage, a tradition handed down from one generation to the other. Lord Shiva who is considered as Nataraja is a divine god of this dance and storytelling music does recite the mythological importance and evolution of it. An elegance within is idealized by gracious movements and ornaments adorn by female performers would leave you flabbergasted.