The vibrant culture of Kerala is represented in its finest form through diverse art and dance forms. The art form depicts many stories about life, god and rituals which attract tourists all over the world. Malayalis consider these Art and Dance form important since time immemorial and hence Kerala has more Dance and art forms than any other state in India.
So let us take you through the various art & dance forms in Kerala, which reflects its colorful culture and which will make backpacking in India a complete experience.
‘Katha’ which means story and ‘Kali’ which means dance is a marvelous mixture of dance, drama and music. The dance form demands of the sophistication and power of the performer. Mime, Dance and Mudras (hand gestures used to interpret the lyrics) are the three most essential parts of Kathakali. The dancer wears a colorful costume and an impressive crown and jewelry, their face is painted green, spot of sacred sandal paste is applied on their brows, cherry is used to tone the lips accompanied by a white chin mask. This dance form which describes legendary stories in poetic compositions is a wonder in the world of Art.
The slow and gracious, sinuous in nature, Mohiniyattam is a unique classical dance form of Kerala. Influential body movements, emotive eyes and hand gestures are important part of this dance form. The origin of this dance form has its root in Hindu mythology. It is believed that when the ocean of milk was churned to extract elixir of life, the demons grabbed it and took it in ‘Patal’. In order to take it back from them, Lord Vishnu took form of beautiful women named Mohini to lure the demons with her charms and steal the elixir and give it back to the gods. Akin to the traditional attire of women in Kerala, the performer is dressed in simple yet elegant dress.
This dance form covers the whole life of Lord Krishna, right from his Birth to his journey towards heaven. Colorful facial make-up, larger-than-life-masks made of light wood and cloth padding enhances the visual effect of this performance. Dark green, flesh tint and deep rose are colors that are used in the performance. Even though it consists of unique choreography, the theatrical aspect of this dance form is the most striking feature.
A Christian art form which bears traces of European Christian Miracle plays is a musical drama of high octane. The stage props and costumes all depicts European influence o this art form. A colloquial mix of Tamil and Malayalam language is used in the performance.
Staged as a social event during festivals or nuptial ceremonies, Duffmuttu is performed in group by Muslims of Malabar. A shallow round percussion instrument called Duffu is used by the artists while performing. This art form is quite simple as compared to other complex and colorful art forms. The leader is the lead singer, he is accompanied by others in a chorus and together they move in one circle. Through the songs they pay tribute to martyrs, heroes and saints.
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