Theatre

Dances of Kerala

The Kathakali performance in Bhubaneswar.   | Photo Credit: by arrangement

If Kerala claims itself as ‘God's Own Country' and beckons the largest number of visitors from India and abroad, it is not all about its beaches, backwaters, monsoon and ayurveda. Its wide variety of dances also woos visitors. An evening of dances of Kerala staged in Orissa's capital city of Bhubaneswar recently by the Government of Kerala was an attempt to prove this.

Though Kerala boasts of the largest number of dance forms — it is the lone Indian state to have two classical dance styles — the event featured four dance forms. The mood of the evening was set by Mohiniattam — the dance of the enchantress and the Indian classical dance form performed exclusively by women. Right from the commencement of the concert with the Ganapati vandana, the five-member troupe staged a neat and impressive performance.

Driven by expressions

Kathakali, the ancient and highly popular theatre art form of Kerala, followed. The two artistes enacted an episode from the Ramayana with the facial expressions and hand gestures amusing the spectators.

Moving on from the classical to the folk forms, the delegation of artistes staged Oppana and Padayani — the first of its kind for the city's connoisseurs. Oppana is usually performed by the Muslims of Malabar region where the performance depicted young girls singing and dancing while applying make up on a bride.

The concluding presentation was Padayani, a ritualistic dance number practiced in the temples of south Kerala. It is a dance dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali and combines elements of dance, music, painting and satire. The dancers wore huge and colourful masks delineated how the visual and performing art have been harmoniously clubbed together in this dance form.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 7:50:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/Dances-of-Kerala/article16137642.ece

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