Kerala is well known for its diverse forms of performing arts. The Traditional Art Forms of Kerala practiced by various communities in Kerala contribute to its rich and colorful culture.Several dance forms which originated in Kerala, Theyyam, Mudiyettu etc are today popular worldwide especially the Kathakali
Kathakali is one of the traditional classical dance drama of kerala grounded on the advices written in Natya Sastra. The costumes and makeup are ornamental, colorful and elaborate so that the gestures and expressions of the performer are easily seen and understood. The performers don’t speak or sing but enact the story through hand signs, body actions and facial expressions especially of the eyes. The themes of this art form are from mythology of Indian culture.
This is an old classical theatre arts of Kerala. It is a unaccompanied dance done in the koothambalam of temples to the accompaniment of mizhavu and elathalam as instruments. The story to be narrated are usually picked from Epics and is portrayed with the dance movements, gestures and facial expressions according to the principles of Natya Sastra. It is marked for the presence of humour elements, which adds to its dramatic character. The costume worn during the performance is colorful and unconventional with an unusual headgear.
Theyyam is initiated in north Kerala. It is also named as Thirayattam (as the each thira (village) performed as a ritualized art at the village temple in north Kerala). Theyyam replicates features of a tribal culture. Performed in kavus and temples to appease the divinities, Theyyam works as a link between the divinity and the disciples. It requires flawless knowledge on numerous things. Reading of songs, make-up, getup preparation, playing of instruments, dancing etc. sum-up as flawless knowledge. Bodily suppleness is indispensable.
Martial Performing Art of Kerala
Kalaripayattu is an innovative battle art. Originated in North Kerala, it is one of the eldest and most inclusive coordination of martial arts in the world. Kerala has shaped many courageous heroes who have a place in Kerala’s folk songs and traditional stories. One among them is Thacholi Othenan is honored in Vadakkan Pattukal (northern ballads) as one of the greatest publicists. The physical activity in it also comprises divulging of systematic knowledge in local medical practices. This is vital to overcome the wounds.
This is a distinctive traditional single dance form of Kerala. Graceful, Slow, swaying movements of the body and limbs and highly emotiveeye and hand gestures are unique to this dance form. This art form has the blend of the grace of elegance of Bharata Natyam with the strength and force of kathakali to create a mood of romance. The clothing for this dance is the old-style white mundu and melmundu of Kerala and with the hairs gathered up at one side of the head and adorned with jasmine flowers in the traditional style