(A typical male Kathakali ensemble. The make-up alone takes upto four hours.)

A rich and flourishing tradition of dance drama can be witnessed in the picturesque state of Kerala, a narrow strip of beautiful land running along the west coast of India. Here, in the night, the drums roll, beckoning an audience to a most magnificent spec-
tacle. Kathakali, a well-developed dance-drama, is a performance where the actors depict characters from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and from the Puranas (ancient scrip-
tures). The dancers adorn themselv-
es in huge skirts and head-dress, and a most intricate style of makeup.

 Great Kathakali pictures.

(A female costume - "Minukku")

Kathakali draws heavily from drama and is dan-
ced with elaborate masks and costumes. Kath-
akali recitals are generally long and while other dance forms are more emotive than narrative, Kathakali is both. It combines dance with dial-
ogue to bring myth and legend to life in the temple courtyards of Kerala. The dancers use their stunning costumes and make-up, with the accompaniment of drums and vocalists, to cre-
ate various moods and emotions.

So strong is the identification of the dancers with the characters they play and so absolute their conviction, that they seem to surpass themselves, becoming one with the legendary heroes and heroines they depict.

 Kathakali page.

Mudra ||  4000 years old! ||  Dance of Shiva ||  Bharatanatyam ||  Kathak ||  Kuchipudi ||  Kathakali || 
Mohini Attam ||  Odissi ||  Manipuri ||  Bibliography ||