Kerala Dance Forms

Centuries old Kerala Dance Forms are noted for the variety, youthfulness and charm. Some Kerala dance forms like Kathakali is world renowned, and a dance form Koodiyattom is recognized by UNESCO as human heritage art. All Kerala dance forms and dance forms of India are based on the instructions of ‘NatyaSastra’, the science of acting, which can be attributed to Sire Bharata who lived some 20 centuries ago. He described ‘navarasangal’ or the nine emotions viz. Sringaram (Love and seduction), Roudram (Aggressive), Hasyam (Humorous), Bhayanakam (Frightening), Veeram (Courage), Karuna (Compassion), Adbhutam (Wonder) and Shantam (Peace). Kerala dance forms seem to draw a narrow line between male and female performers.

Kathakali: This is divine dance form of Kerala, noted for the minute expression of emotions and colorful costumes. Kathakali is considered the art of Gods, and epical episodes are performed as a play. In earlier times it took many days for the completion of a play. Expression of emotions and

narration is based on ‘Mudras’ or hand signals, and facial expression of navarasa, the nine emotions. Traditionally only men performed this Kerala dance form and they dressed like women for female characters usually Goddesses.

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