Kathakali Dance of Kerala: Visually Impacting Dance with Story & Play
WHAT IS KATHAKALI? Kathakali is a traditional Indian dance form of Kerala, in India. Owing to its signature style of dance and drama, Kathakali is also recognized as one of the oldest and most awe-inspiring forms of theatre, across the world.
Kathakali Dance Themes: Kathakali dance is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology. Therefore, Kathakali dancers/actors usually depict characters from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
During their performance, stories from these mythological epics are sung while the Kathakali dancers act out the stories. Hence, Kathakali dance is a beautiful amalgamation of pure dance and abhinaya.
There was a time when Kathakali dance was performed by men only. However, with time, things changed.
Today, this dance form is performed by both, men, and women. Kathakali performances last for several hours and are quite long.
Defining Elements and Performance
Among all the traditional Indian dance forms, Kathakali is one of the most visually impacting, a beautiful and enthralling mix of story and play.
Kathakali dancers have their own unique style which is larger-than-life and eye-catching.
Dancers make use of many intricate facial expressions, eye movements, and interesting hand gestures during their performances. And they do it to depict different emotions.
It is interesting to note how Kathakali dancers enact and depict so many emotions and stories without saying a word.
Kathakali dancers can be easily recognized with their signature costumes and makeup, especially their eye makeup.
The main aspects of the makeup include painted faces, elongated eyes, and eyebrows as well as bright red and prominent lips.
The five main types of make-up or faces are as follows: Kari, Pacha, Kathi, Thadi, and Minukku.
And the musical instruments that provide accompanying music include Chenda, Maddala, Cymbals and Gong.
Kathakali Dance Costume: Kathakali dancers wear beautiful, bright-coloured and dramatic clothes which are stitched to perfection. The large headgear/crown is made of wood and is one of the defining features of a Kathakali dancer.
Besides the clothes, Kathakali dancers also wear beautiful and elaborate ornaments on their arms, hands, neck, ears, and head etc.
Famous Kathakali Dancers:
Some of the well-known masters of Kathakali Dance include
Kathakali is a beautiful and creative dance that offers a visual treat to its audiences. If you get the opportunity to watch a Kathakali Dance performance, make sure to grab it!
Are you a Kathakali Dancer? To add greater value to this page, we invite you to contribute your picture in your traditional Kathakali dance costume for inclusion on this webpage. We’ll surely add your name under the picture as a token of thanks. Email us at [email protected]