ELEMENTS of the art of Kathakali are believed to have been gradually developed in Kerala from early as the 2nd century until the end of the i6th century. Kathakali as an individual style of dance-drama emerged as a 'people's theatre´┐Ż from the traditional dances of the past. Kathakali as we now see it therefore dates back to about the time that Shakespeare was writing his plays. The performances given in Malabar at that time by troupes of actors were formed by and enjoyed the patronage of the local Rajahs and other noblemen (especiallycially the Namboodiris, or Brahmins of Malabar) must in many ways have been s to the Masques which were in vogue in England in the i6th and 17th centuries, in masked performers acted and danced, developing into a form of drama with music, then Kathakali has passed through many stages of improvement in make-up and costume, dance forms and acting techniques.
Kuchipudi is the classical dance form from the South-East Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It derives its name from the village of Kuchelapuram, a small village about 65 kms from Vijaywada. It is known for its graceful movements and its strong narrative / dramatic character.
Mohini the temptress, is a recurring character in Hindhu mythology. Attom means dance. It is seductive dance performed by women, sensuous in its appeal. In technique Mohiniyattom lies somewhere between Kathakali and Bharathanatyam, Lyrical in the extreme keynote is coquetry. The symmetrical patterns of emotion flow in balanced nuances with smooth footwork, somewhat quickened body movements and special music.
Bharatanatyam (also spelled Bharathanatyam, Bharatnatyam or Bharata Natyam is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu of Southern India. It owes its current name to Krishna Iyer and later, Rukmini Devi Arundale.Bharata refers to the author of the Natya Shastra, and natya is Sanskrit for the art of dance-drama. It was brought to the stage at the beginning of the 20th century by Krishna Iyer.
Among the folk dances of Kerala which come under the religious groups the ritual dance staged in Bhagavathi temples or Kavus in propitiation of .the deities deserves special attention. In the erstwhile North Malabar area of which the modern Cannanore District forms the major part this type of dance is called Theyyattam or Theyyam Thullal.
Thol Pava Koothu, the unique shadow puppet theatre form of Kerala, South India, is preserved as a family tradition by the Pulavars. It is an ancient and peculiar ritualistic art form dedicated to Bhagavati, worshiped by the people of Kerala as the Mother Goddess.
An ancient form of dramatic presentation in Kannada language that has been in vogue in the Karnataka region, Yakshagana bears some similarities with Kathakali in the matter of dress, songs and accompaniments.
Velakali is a mock fight which is believed by some to be a representation of the battle of Kurukshetra between die Pandavas and the Kaaravas. The Velakali commences with a flourish of trumpets and kettle drums.
Kerala has a number of other minor temple arts and some of these deserve mention. Patakam which is a simple form otKpothu is an art which is fast flying out for want of encouragement. In it, a single actor expounds puranic stories. Harikatha performance has in recent times taken the place of patakam., as it has more musical overtones and hence is more popular.
Parisakali, developed by the Mappilas of North Kerala as an entertaining folk play is now almost defunct. Training in Parisakali is imparted to boys in Kalaries specially set up for the purpose under the guidance of a Gurukkal. The game is played in the form of a mock fight by the boys holding short sticks of uniform size in one hand and small light red colored straw-board shields in the other.
Ottam Thullal is a kind of solo-dance in which one actor adorning colourful costumes recites dance songs to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. The origin of Ottam. Thullal is traced to an unhappy incident alleged to have taken place in the Natakasala of the Krishna temple, Ambalapuzha, towards the end of the 18th century. The story is that Kunjan Nambiar who was beating the mizhavu during a Koothu performance produced a wrong note and that he was rebuked by the Chakiar in the presence of the audience.

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