Folk Dances of Kerala
Kerala is land of fascinating and colorful folk dances. There are more than a hundred famous folk dances in Kerala with different themes which are performed in various occasions. The folk dances are performed to the accompaniment of songs and instruments. The songs are generally of ancient in origin which are sung by the dancers themselves or occasionally by a group of musicians.
The folk dances of Kerala are closely related with life of common man. Some of them are religious in nature. There are folk dances related with different communities and professional groups. A few of the folk dances are related with mystic cults and occult science. Majority of folk dances of Kerala are secular in nature.
THEYYAM - A GREAT MYTHICAL FOLK DANCE
Theyyam is a fascinating folk dance prevalent in Kannur, northern Kerala. This is also known as "Kaliyattam" which is a dance performance for the Goddess Kali, who is considered as the Mother Goddess in Hindu myths and puranas. This sacred socio - religious dance is very ancient in origin.
KAIKOTTIKALI - A DANCE IN WHICH ONLY WOMEN PARTICIPATE
Kaikottikali or Thiruvathirakkali is a dance in which only women participate. A group of women move around rhythmically a centrally placed traditional lamp, dancing to the tunes of the songs they sing. While playing the participants wear the traditional Kerala dress. The songs used for Thiruvathirakali are generally from puranas and Indian literature of ancient period.
MARGAM KALI - A POPULAR ART FORM OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Margam kali is a popular art form of Christian community in Kerala. It is performed by women in folk style. The theme of the songs revolves round the life of St. Thomas and other biblical stories.The Margam kali has influences of existing classical and folk dances of Kerala.
PATAYANI - THE MOST COLOURFUL AND SPECTACULAR FOLK DANCE
Patayani is one of the most colorful and spectacular folk dance associated with festivals of certain temples in southern Kerala. The word Patayani literally means military formations. The influence of Patayani may be clearly seen in Kathakali, the more famous theatrical dance drama of Kerala.
KUTHIYATTAM – A DANCE PERFORMED IN TEMPLES OF FEMALE DEITIES
Kuthiyattam is performed in temples of female deities of Kerala. The performer, wearing a crown and three other characters, with three different facial make -ups, dance rhythmically to the background of percussion instruments. The songs are in praise of Hindu Gods.
BHOOTHAM THULLAL - A RITUAL DANCE PERFORMED IN KERALA TEMPLES
This is ritual dance performed during the annual festivals in Kerala temples. A particular section of people are usually allowed to perform this dance. The concept is that the devils of lord Shiva are coming to see and enjoy the temple festival.
THIYYATTU - A DEVOTIONAL DANCE PERFORMED IN BHADRAKALI TEMPLES
A devotional dance as offering performed in Bhadrakali temples. A set of performers known as Thiyyattunnis alone are entitled to perform it. The theme is usually the killing of Darika by bhadrakali. Thiyyattu with wild rhythm of dance and musical accompaniment is great enthralling dance form. The make up and costumes of Thiyyattu is very attractive and appealing.
KOTHAMOORI - A DANCE PREVALENT IN NORTH KERALA
This is a dance prevalent in north Kerala. Models of oxen are made up with leaves and twigs, and carried on shoulders behind which numerous dancers with crude facial masks and skirts made of tender fronds of coconut, and dance to the accompaniment of instruments like Chenda and Kinni.
VELAKALI - A MARITAL ART FORM OF KERALA
The Velakali is a marital art form of Kerala. The military crafts in the times of feudalism are exhibited in this dance. It is believed that this art form was originated area around Ambalapuzha. The dance of Thullal has influenced Velakali.
DAPPUKALI - A GROUP DANCE OF MUSLIMS
A group dance of Muslims of Kerala. The performers form two rows of ten to twenty and they beat on the dappu which each dancer holds in his left hand and dance with rhythmic steps with the timing of dappu.
KOLKALI - A FOLK DANCE WITH SMALL STICKS
Kolkali is a folk dance with small sticks in which both men and women participate. The performers move in a circle, striking small sticks and keeping rhythm with special steps. The circle expands and contracts as the dance progress. Accompaniments are not used in this dance.