Kerala is colourful and an enchanting kaleidoscope full of breathtaking surprises with full of unique culture and traditions, along with its varied demography making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.
Along with all these Kerala is also a major source of traditional and folk dances. Some of the most well known dances in Kerala are as follows:
Chavittunatakom is one of the forms of plays performed in Kerala. The word Chavittu means stamping of feet and Natakom refers to play. Chavittunatakom is said to be a blend of a combination of European opera, medieval historic plays and Kalarippayattu of Kerala. It is considered as Latin Christian dance forms of Kerala. In the olden days the Chavittunatakom was performed on open stages, though sometimes the interior of a church was also a venue. The costumes used in this play were Greco- Roman even several props used in the plays were from foreign.
Kolkali is said to come into existence 1000 years back and is still in existence as one of the folk dances in Kerala. The dancers hold sticks in their hands and dance with the rhythm by beating the sticks. They move in circles along a metal lamp called Nilavilakku. They never miss a beat even if the pace and the rhythm raises along with the music and climax the music varies the phase to phase.
The Kathakali dance has been introduced almost 1500 years ago in the folk and ritual dances of Kerala, Southern India. The word Kathakali means “story- telling”. The highly rich costumes that a Kathakali dancer wear nowadays, has become one of the most recognized icons of the Kerala. In olden days there were 101 classical Kathakali stories which were performed by Kathakali dancers. But now at present only one third of these are performed most commonly.
The name itself describes the dance; it was performed for Lord Krishna in temples. Under this the story of Lord Krishna was described and the whole story was divided into eight parts introduced by Manaveda then Zamorin Raja of Calicut in northern Kerala. The eight names of the plays are Avataram, Kaliyamardanam, Rasakrida, Kamsavadham, Swayamvaram, Banayuddham, Vividavadham and Swargarohanam.
The word ‘Mohini’ refers to Beautiful women and the word ‘Attam’ refers to Dance. Mohiniaattam is referred to as one of the beautiful dance styles performed by the women’s with surging flow of body movements. The roots of Mohiniaattam have been derived from the devdasis who used to perform in temples of Lord Krishna it has been developed and now it has become one of the traditional dance performance in the state of Kerala.
Kutiyattam is one of the Sanskrit theatre which is traditionally performed in the state of Kerala. This dance form is performed in the Hindu temples in Sanskrit Dravidian Language. Here the word Kutiyattam refers to “Combined acting” and also considered as one of the only surviving specimen of the ancient Sanskrit theatre. The main musical instruments which are used traditionally in Koodiyattam are Mizhavu, kuzhitalam, etakka, kurumkuzhal, and sankhu.
There are many other such traditionally rich and elegant dance forms in Kerala some of them are already discussed above.