Kathakali Dance Kerala

Kathakali is the classical dance-drama of Kerala, South India, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology. Kathakali has a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. 

The themes of the Kathakali are religious in nature.  They typically deal with the Mahabarat, the Ramayana and the ancient scriptures known as the Puranas.  This is performed in a text which is generally Sanskritised Malayalam.

Kathakali performance is a major social event.  They generally start at dusk and go through out the night.  Kathakali is usually performed only by men.  Female characters are portrayed by men dressed in women's costume.  However, in recent years, women have started to become Kathakali dancers.

Kathakali has a long tradition.  It dates back to the 17th century.  It was given its present form by Mahakavi Vallathol Narayan Menon, who was the founder of the Kerala Kala Mandalam.

The actors rely very heavily on hand gesture to convey the story.  These hand gestures, known as mudra, are common through out much of classical Indian dance.

Mountain ranges in Kerala PhotoN G Nair India

N G Nair, Mining Engineer from Copper Mines in India


Kathakali is a form of dance drama. Elements of music, dance , painting, poetry and drama blend in a unique way to make this art form stand out amongst other classical dance forms. Kathakali has evolved from classical dance forms such as Koodiyattam and also imbibed elements of several folk art forms that existed in Kerala. The many aspects of traditional rituals and ceremonies that Kathakali picked up on its evolutionary course from various folk arts, has since then become its integral part. The classical elements of this art form comprise Natya (enactment-histronics), Nritha (Pure Dance), Nrithya(the element of dance with emphasis on expressions of emotions). Geetha (song, vocal) and Vadya (accompanying instruments) supplement these elements to perfection to yield a complete theatrical art form.

PicasaWeb Slideshow - Kathakali Dance


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