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Kerala has a vibrant tradition of classical arts spanning over a thousand years. These long-standing traditions arose from man’s desire to influence and interact with the subtle forces of nature. We are discussing all the reflecting Kerala’s unique history, customs, and beliefs. The following are some of the prominent art forms of Kerala. (ART FORMS OF KERALA)
The classical dance form of Mohiniyattam portrays the listen dance of the Enchantress. The dancer richly adorned in gold is the personification of a more attired similarly to a traditional Kerala woman. The graceful Mohiniyattam dancer captivates the audience with her movements that are gentle, swaying, and elegant. While Mohiniyattam compositions are usually sedate some like Dundubi Natya in a fast-paced.
Kathakali epitomizes the vibrant cultural history of Kerala, with its elaborate makeup, striking costumes, intricate movements, and detailed storytelling. Each article of clothing and makeup signifies an aspect of the character portrayed. Every subtle gesture has to it a deep meaning. A classical dance-drama that originated300 years ago the massive popularity of Kathakali has garnered an audience for it, all around the world. A satirical art form widely popular among the masses of Kerala Ottan Thullal combines both song and dance. Prominent among Kerala’s few solos performing art forms, it is known for its high tempo and fast meter and rhyme. The arresting costume of the performer along with musical instruments unique to Kerala like the Maddalam and the cymbals all contribute to a performance that captures the fact and the imagination. (Vibrant Art Forms Of Kerala)
Kuttiyattam is a classical dance-drama derived from ancient Sanskrit theater that originated 2,000 years ago. It is considered to be the predecessor of Kerala’s classical arts combining elements like dramatics and dancing. The name Kuttiyattam literally translates to composite dancing and it is said to be India’s oldest existing dance drama. With the requirement of extensive training spanning a number of years, Kuttiyattam is characterized by striking facial expressions rhythmic pace, and exquisite gestures. Kuttiyattam performances are accompanied by Mizhavu, a traditional musical instrument of Kerala with a distinctive sonorous beat.
A popular classical Christian art form of Kerala the musical drama Chavittu Natakam is believed to have originated in central Kerala while adopting features of a typical drama Chavittu Natakam meaning stamping drama distinguishes itself through its rhythmic dance movements that dictate the pace of the performance. Its origins have been traced back to the 16th century amidst the presence of the Portuguese in Kerala. The musical drama is characterized by its distinctive Greco-roman costumes that stand out amidst the rustic Kerala backdrop. The songs and dialogues are delivered in a colloquial blend of Tamil and Malayalam. The actors have elaborate makeup, ornate costumes, and extravagant gestures. (Vibrant Art Forms Of Kerala)
An integral part of Muslim wedding ceremonies in Kerala Oppana is the traditional dance performance that serenades the bride and groom. The blushing bride and the handsome groom adorned in all their wedding finery are surrounded by their close friends who perform this traditional dance. Melodiously singing and clapping, the youngsters pirouette gracefully around the bride-and-groom, while maintaining the rhythm of the performance. All the performers are richly adorned in traditional outfits as they participate in this ancient custom that signifies the union of two souls.
Margam Kali is a classical Christian dance form popular among the Syrian Christian community of Kerala. It is a dance that loads the evangelical activities of Saint Thomas, the Apostle In this dance a group of female performers move rhythmically around a delighted brass wick lamp. The traditional purpose of Margam Kali was to propagate Christianity in Kerala. (Vibrant Art Forms Of Kerala)
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An electrifying oblation to the snake Gods Sarpam Thullal is an extraordinary ritual art form of Kerala. Sarpam Thullal or dance of serpents is a mystical embodiment of the reverence in which snakes are held in traditional households across Kerala. Elaborate Kalam or ritual art is drawn on the ground and the snake Gods are invited to it through offerings of customary song and dance. The culmination of the performance is signified by the dancers wiping off the columns in the divine trance. The Kali Theeyattu ritual art form is performed in front of the Kolam or Dhooli Chitram of the Goddess Kali.
Kolam Dance is the ritual artwork created with colored powder on the floor and the performance commences by invoking the goddess to grace us with her presence. Kali Theeyattu’s performance predominantly depicts the epic duel between the goddess and her nemesis the demon Darika As the ritual comes to an end the Kolam is erased by the Oracle. Kambra Nritham is a tribal dance that signifies agricultural activities in Kerala’s vivid paddy fields. As the womenfolk of the Adiyan tribal community of Wayanad engage in planting paddy saplings in the fields during the sowing season the men lured their efforts by going around the fields exuberantly singing and dancing. (Vibrant Art Forms Of Kerala)
An art form exclusively staged at the temples of Goddess Kali on the banks of river Pamba in South Kerala Padayani instantly arrests your interest with its vivid hues and vibrant performances. This ancient folk art form is a perfect amalgamation of music dance and theater. Padayani literally means a file of warriors and is distinguished by enormous masks or Kolams of varying shapes. A form of ritual worship featuring divine and semi-divine entities Padayani is never the less considered a secular folk art with mass appeal. Padayani performances involve rhythmic dance movements varying in pace and formation, elaborate costumes, and haunting folk melodies.
Theyyam is a ritual art form of Kerala embodying its vibrant heritage of aboriginal arts and culture. Consider the most magnificent of northern Kerala’s ritual dances Theyyams origins can be traced back thousands of years. Theyyam is considered the dance of the divine where supernatural beings take over the human body to perform a ritual dance of worship. Theyyam signifies the primitive man’s quest to personify God.
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VIBRANT ART FORMS OF KERALA