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Classical Dance

Kathakali Dance of Kerala : One of the Many Indian Classical Dances of Ancient India

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 ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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Kathakali is a major form of Indian Classical Dance. It is a “Story Play” genre of art, but one distinguished by the elaborately colorful make-up, costumes and face masks that the traditionally male actor-dancers wear.  Kathakali is a Hindu performance art in the Malayalam-speaking southwestern Indian state of Kerala.


Kathakali’s roots are unclear. The fully developed style of Kathakali originated around the 17th century, but its roots are in the temple and folk arts and religious drama of the southwestern Indian peninsula, which are traceable to at least the 1st millennium CE. 

Know About Kathakali – A Classical & Traditional Dance of Kerala


A Kathakali performance, like all classical dance forms of India, synthesizes music, vocal performers, choreography and hand and facial gestures together to express ideas. However, Kathakali differs in that it also incorporates movements from ancient Indian martial arts and athletic traditions of South India.

Kathakali also differs in that the structure and details of its art form developed in the courts and theatres of Hindu principalities, unlike other classical Indian dances which primarily developed in Hindu Temples.

The traditional themes of Kathakali are folk mythologies, religious legends and spiritual ideas from the Hindu epics and mythologies. The vocal performance has traditionally been performed in Sanskritised Malayalam.

In modern compositions, Indian Kathakali troupes have included women artists, as well as adapted Western stories and plays such as those by Shakespeare.

Kathakali Classical Dance, History, Dress, Origin, Style, Makeup

Elements and aspects of Kathakali can be found in ancient Sanskrit texts such as the Natya Shastra. The Natya Shastra is attributed to Sage Bharata of ancient India.


Of all classical Indian dances, Kathakali has the most elaborate costuming consisting of head dresses, face masks and vividly painted faces. It typically takes several evening hours to prepare a Kathakali troupe to get ready for a play. Costumes have made Kathakali’s popularity extend beyond adults, with children absorbed by the colors, make-up, light and sound of the performance.


Like many classical Indian arts, Kathakali is choreography as much as it is acting. It is said to be one of the most difficult styles to execute on stage, with young artists preparing for their roles for several years before they get a chance to do it on stage. The actors speak a sign language, where the word part of the character’s dialogue is expressed through Mudras (Hand-signs), while emotions and moods are expressed through facial and eye movements. In parallel, vocalists in the background sing rhythmically the play, matching the beats of the orchestra playing, thus unifying the ensemble into a resonant oneness.


Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Though academically trained in modern Western Sciences, Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar is a crazy maniac of India's ageless, timeless ethnic arts, crafts & textiles. The rich & glorious cultural & spiritual heritage of India is a subject extremely dear to her heart, and the whole of this Blog has been dedicated to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide, to every nook & corner of the globe, through these simple Blog-posts. Any constructive criticisms & suggestions in this regard for improvement of the Blog 'MOST WELCOME'. Also, High-Quality Guest Blog-posts 'MOST WELCOME". LinkedIn Profile : https://in.linkedin.com/in/mala-chandrashekhar-04095917a