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Dances of Kerala

The Dances of Kerala are vibrant and wonderfully expressive, and they add hues of happiness, gaiety, enthusiasm and life to this enchanting land, which is an eclectic blend of pristine natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Local legends, traditional stories, age-old customs, cultural beliefs and mythological stories are depicted through the brilliant dances of Kerala. Folk Dance, Tribal Dance, Classical Dance, Neo-Classical Dance or Modern dance, Kerala is a treasure trove of all kinds of dance forms. Blessed with a rich history of art and culture, Kerala is renowned all over the world for its enchanting performing arts which were highly patronized by the ancient rulers.

The various dances of Kerala are evocative of the temperaments and moods of the localities in music, and the costumes are highly developed. Kerala is a colorful amalgamation of folk dances, classical dances, and tribal dances that acquaint you with a delightful world of ancient customs and practices, which have cascaded down the generations, and now find expression in the various performing art forms.

Some of the popular classical dances of Kerala include Koothu, Kathakali, Mohiniattom, Patokom, etc. The most famous dance form in Kerala is the internationally acclaimed 300-year-old classical form of Kathakali, which combines aspects of ballet, opera, masque and pantomime. Kathakali depicts events and excerpts from great Indian epics and `puranas´, presented by dancers decked in huge skirts and headdress, and wearing a unique style of makeup. The richness of this enchanting fusion of tradition, color, music, expression and drama is one of a kind and unmatched in any other dances of Kerala.

Kerala has a rich variety of folk dances. Prominent among these are Kaliyattom, Kolam Thullal, Kolkali, Velakali and Kaikottikali. These dances are performed in accompaniment of songs and drums, and often in colorful oriental costumes.

The primitive inhabitants of Kerala are the tribal people, and their artistic expressions are evocative of their distinct, secluded and primitive social structure. Tribal dances of Kerala are interwoven with the lives of the people who perform this dance form.

Contributing substantially to the rich heritage of dances of Kerala is the modern dance composition. Although these dances do not have any real roots in the age old dance traditions of the land, they mime some features of tribal, folk and classical dances.