Kathakali is a dance drama from Kerala depicting the victory of truth over falshood. Katha means story and kali is a play. The roots of the dance form can be traced to about 1,500 years earlier. The dance-drama symbolises the blending of Aryan and Dravidian cultures and is presumed to have evolved from the tradition of the region like krishnattam, Ramanattam, Kudiyattam, Mudayyetu and Theyyam.
The classical elements of Kathakali come from the Sanskrit theatre called Kudiyattam. There are four types of enactments-angikan or limb movements, varhikam or words, aaharyam or make-up and costumes, sakvikam or emotional aspects. In Krishnattam and Ramanattam, Jayadeva's Poem Geeta-Govinda is adopted for devotional singing. It was especially popular at the Guruvayoor temple dedicated to Sri Krishna. Theyyam is a ritualistic art form practiced in the village temple of Malabar area. The more vigouous dance patterns and exaggerated expressions found in Kathakali are adaptations from Theyyam.
Being a very exacting art, it demands strenuous training of the body and facial movements. Kathakali combines dance with dialogue to bring myth and legend to life in the temple cortyards of Kerala.
The origin of the dance can be traced to the middle of the 17th century. Like the other dance-dramas, the themes of Kathakali are drawn from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Bhagwata Purana. Like Bharatanatyam, this dance form too is based on the Natya Shastra. Highly stylised and evolved, the traditional dance requires elaborate masks and costumes. The dancers ware huge skirts and head-dress and their make-up is very intricate,imparting the dance a weird and at the same time fantastic aspect. The accompaniments include the chenda, a drum like instrument that produces thunderous beats and the maddala that produces a softer sound and two large cymbals.
Today's Kathakali is based on two styles-Kalladikodam and Kapplingadam. The first lays importance on rigorous training and stylised body movements. Emotions are expressed not through the face alone. Here the natya dharmi method is adopted. The hand gestures are wider and in conjunction with body movements.
Kathakali used elaborate hand gestures and very formalised facial expressions. The latter has to be learnt and practiced at the feet of the ashaan. The male singers sing the sahitya or verses alternately. The dancer interprets the lyrics literelly before creating drama of fantasy around the words. He travels to other worlds-forests,mountains to bhulokam-the world of evil and to swarga-the world of gods.Mostly he goes to the inner world is himself where he exercises his imagination.
The late Chengannur Raman Pillai codified the dance and taught it in school to his disciples. P.V.Balakrishnan is an exponent of the ancient form of Kathakali.
BHARATA NATYAM KATHAKALI KATHAK MANIPURI KUCHIPUDI ODISSI MOHINI ATTAM
BHANGRA DHUMAL ROUF LAMA DANCE PANGI DANCES LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM RAAS GIDDA DHAMYAL DUPH LAHOOR DHURANG MALI DANCE TERA TALI
BIHU NAGA DANCE HAZAGIRI BAMBOO DANCE NONGKREM THANG-TA KARMA PONUNG BRITA OR VRITA HURKA BAUL KALI NACH GANTA PATUA PAIK DALKHAI
GENDI BHAGORIYA JAWAR GARBA DANDIYA KALA DINDI MANDO
DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA KARAGAM KUMMI KUTTIYATTAM
PADAVANI KOLAM LAVA NICOBARESE