is a beautiful mix of dance and drama and is the most distinguished
dance of Kerala. As per research, this dance form may have had
its beginnings sometime during the 2nd century. "Katha"
means story and "Kali" stands for dance. The Kathakali
performance is actually the dramatised presentation of a play.
They are based on the Hindu epics, Ramayana, Mahabharata and
Performers play the various characters, which can be generally
divided into Pacca, the royal and the divine characters,
such as Vishnu or Rama, the make-up of the royal characters
consists of green faces symbolising heroism and righteousness
along with a large crown headgear. Katti, these are
the demon characters such as Ravana, and Tati,
characters with beards like the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman.
The first sound of the Kathakali is made on the sudda mandalam,
the long barrel-shaped drum. The initial drumming performance
may take up to two hours. The rhythms of the drums and style
of the singers suggest the temperament of the characters and
create the mood of the drama.
the dance of the women in Kerala, embodies the traditional feminine
aesthetics and this dance expresses worship. The origin of this
dance relates to the custom of every village having a sacred
grove, which the villagers believed was the home of their protector,
the village goddess. Artists began to depict the goddess in
drawings known as kolams. Later choreographers developed
dance movements from the depictions of artists.
The dance derives its name from the female character, Mohini,
portrayed in the Purana legends. It is a solo performance where
the woman stands alone in grace and dignity. The rasa
or sentiment evoked by the dance is said to be one of love.
The dancer wears a white sari edged in gold, the serpent figured
jewel for the neck, jasmine flowers for her hair and brass bells
for her ankles and on the forehead she wears the vermilion tilaka,
representative of the radiance of the deity.