Kerala Dance forms

Mohiniyattom Classical dances comprise an integral part of the dance forms of India. The dances of Kerala are based on the principles of the ancient Hindu scriptures and the allied arts. One of the earliest known scripts is Bharatha's Natya Shastra, written around the 2nd century BC. Each of the dance forms of Kerala are distinguished by the postures and the way they make use of the facial expressions. The most famous of the dances of Kerala happens to be the Kathakali to which Kerala owes its transitional phase. This three centuries old dance form combines the ballet, opera, masque and pantomime. Kathakali has evolved from the Kootiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakali is an expression of narratives from the Puranas and epics. Among the dances of Kerala, Kathakali is performed in the precincts of temples after dusk falls. Chavittunatakom is a dance of Kerala that is a corporeal expression of a sensual blend of cultures. The word translates into stamping drama, and dates back to the advent of the Portuguese on the Malabar Coast. The colonists used this dance form to propagate their myths and legends. Nangiar Koothu is performed by the females of the Chakkiar community - the Nangiars. This is a solo dance drama based primarily on the legends of Krishna. Verses are sung and interpreted through songs and dances. Velakali is a spectacular martial dance that is performed in some temples of South Kerala by the Nair warriors with wooden swords and shields as props. The dancers are clad in the garb of traditional medieval Nair warriors engaged in dynamic movements and dexterous swordplay. Mohiniyattom expresses veneration and bears a subtle manifestation of tradition. It traces its origin to the time when man worshipped supernatural powers. Each village had a sacred grove which housed the protector. Choreographers are said to have developed dance movements based on this goddess. Thiruvathirakali is performed by women for eternal marital bliss on the Thiruvathira day on the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December - January). Tholppavakoothu, which translates into leather puppet play, is a ritual art form performed during festivals at the Kaali temples of the Palakkad district in upper Kerala.