Kerala » Culture » Kerala Dance Forms

Kerala Dance Forms

Blessed as it is by nature and a vibrant people, Kerala also has a rich repertoire of music, dance and arts. Most of these are unique to the land and reflects the love for life of its people. From the renowned Kathakali, considered to be the complete art form as it synthesizes all that is best in the fields of drama, music and dance to the folk dances which are reflections of the rhythmic impulses of a sensitive people.For Ages , the rich and vibrant culture of Kerala has intrigued the people of worldwide. The songs and dances of the people , their ballads, their rituals and their intellectual pursuits. Truly , the real treasure of Kerala lay in the cultural heritage of its people.

List of Performing Arts of Kerala

Classical Arts

The tradition of classical arts has existed in Kerala more than a thousand years.
Koodiyattam– the Sanskrit theater of Kerala, Koodiyattam is believed to have originated two millennia ago. This art form was declared by UNESCO as one among ‘the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity’.
Kathakali – The spectacular dance drama of Kerala, Kathakali integrates dance, music, poetry and histrionics. Referred to a the ‘first theater of imagination’ in the world, it combines both lasya(gentle, graceful dance) and tandava(powerful, energetic dance) elements.
Mohiniyattom– The gracefully elegant classical dance from, Mohiniyattom is the dance of the enchantress and has lasya as the prominent element.

Folk Arts

Kerala has a vast repertoire of folk performing arts, folk songs and folk drama that showcase man’s overpowering rapport with nature and his constant desire for communication with the unknown.
Theyyam – One of the most outstanding folk art of Kerala, Theyyam has its origins in the northern part of the state. The oldest ritual art form, there are about 45 different types of Theyyam including the Agnu Theyyam where the dancer walks on fire.
Thira, Mudiyettu, Kaduvakali, Velakali, Kakkarissinatakam,Margamkali,Kolakali,Parichamuttukali, Pulluvanpattu and Thiruvathirakali are some of the other folk art form of Kerala.

Martial Arts

Kalaripayattu – The comprehensive system of martial arts of Kerala. Kalaripayattu is regarded as one of the oldest and most scientific in the world. Even Kung-fu is believed to be originated from it.


Best Dance Forms of Kerala

Parichamuttu Dance

Parichamuttu Dance

Parichamuttu is an old Kerala folk dance performed by Christians of Kerala India. It is closely related to the the martial art form of kalaripayattu.It is performed both in Travancore and Malabar areas. Parichamuttu Elements... more »
Kathakali Dance

Kathakali Dance

[caption id="attachment_20581" align="alignleft" width="300"] Kathakali (pic: Wiki, Qnonsense)[/caption]Kathakali is ome of the most important dance form of Kerala state and as well as highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters,... more »
Mohiniyattam Dance

Mohiniyattam Dance

Mohiniyattam means literally means"Dance of the Temptress" or " Dance of the Enchantress" is a classical dance form of Kerala, India. It is believed to be originated in 16th century CE,[1] it is one of... more »
Ottamthullal Dance

Ottamthullal Dance

Ottamthullal is a type of performing art in Kerala State of India. Legendary Malayalam poet Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar created this dance form in 18th century.In thullal the performer himself sings and says the story. The... more »
Velakali Dance

Velakali Dance

Velakali is a ritual art dance form of Kerala India. It is an temple art i.e is presented in the temple courtyards during festival times. Among the martial folk arts, this is one of the... more »
Chakyar Koothu

Chakyar Koothu

Chakyar Koothu is a traditional dance form of Kerala that is performed in the temples. Chakyar Koothu was originally performed only in Koothambalams of Hindu temples. It is a highly refined monologue where the performer... more »
Koodiyattam Dance

Koodiyattam Dance

Koodiyattam is an important and ancient dance form of Kerala State , India. It is also called as Kutiyattam. It is officially recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of... more »
Krishnanattam Dance

Krishnanattam Dance

Krishnanattam is a temple art of Kerala India. It is based on dance drama and presents the story of Krishna in a series of eight plays. In Krishnanattam artists focuses on bodily gestures and expressions... more »
Theyyam Dance

Theyyam Dance

Theyyam is a popular Hindu ritual dance form of worshiping in northern Malabar region of Kerala.Theyyam originated from "Kaliyattam" once practiced by the tribal community of north Kerala. As a living cult with several thousand-year-old... more »
Padayani Dance

Padayani Dance

Padayani also known as Padeni is a traditional folk dance of Kerala India. It is an ancient ritual performed in Bhagavati temples. Padayani is an art form that blends music, dance, theater, satire, facial masks,... more »
Kerala Natanam Dance

Kerala Natanam Dance

Kerala Natanam is a new style of dance that is now recognised as a distinct art form evolved from Kathakali a form of Indian dance-drama. The Indian dancer Guru Gopinath a well trained Kathakali artist... more »
Margamkali Dance

Margamkali Dance

Margamkali is a performing art of the Syriac Christians of Kerala it is an ancient group dance practiced by Saint Thomas Christians. The dance form was practiced by the Saint Thomas Christians before the arrival... more »
Chavittunadakam

Chavittunadakam

Chavittunadakam is a colorful Latin Christian dance form that originated in Cochin city of Kerala India. It is noted for its attractive make-up of characters, their elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented... more »
Oppana Dance

Oppana Dance

Oppana is a popular dance form among the Mappila community of Kerala, south India, prevalent all over, especially in the northern district of Malappuram.The Malayalam word Oppana Pattu is the derivation of Tamil word 'Oppanai... more »
Duffmuttu

Duffmuttu

Duff Muttu is an art form prevalent among Muslims in Kerala state of south India using the traditional duff, or daf, also called Thappitta. Participants dance to the rhythm as they beat the duff. The... more »

Thiyattu Dance

Thiyattu is one of the oldest temple art forms, maybe 1500 to 2000 years old which is practised by a particular caste . It is a devotional offering to godess Bhadrakali and Sree Ayyappa .... more »
Pulikali Dance

Pulikali Dance

Pulikali also known as Kaduvakali is a common colorful folk art of Kerala . It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam, an annual harvest festival, celebrated mainly in... more »
Pathakam Dance

Pathakam Dance

Patakam meaning dissertation is a dramatic exposition of any incident from the Puranas, the exposition being entirely in vernacular, while the verses for recital are in Sanskrit language. Patakam is similiar to Koothu in technical... more »
Kalampattu Dance

Kalampattu Dance

Kalampattu also known as Kalamezhuthu pattu is a folk art form that belongs to the northern region of the Kerala. This art form is believed to be 600 years old art form that is performed... more »
Kaliyoottu Dance

Kaliyoottu Dance

Kaliyoottu is a colorful festival of Kerala that longs till eight day and depicts the combat between the lordess Dusrga and teh demon Darika. This beautiful festival describes how Goddess Durga fought demon and vanished... more »
Kanyarkali Dance

Kanyarkali Dance

Kanyarkali also known as Desathukali is a festival celebrated in celebrated in month of March or April in Kurumba Bhagavathy temples in Palakkad District of Kerala India. It is a fast and swift dance attuned... more »
Kavadiyattam Dance

Kavadiyattam Dance

Kavadiyattam is a ritual dance offering in Subramanya Temples .It is a fascinating and unique art form done with the help of Kavadis which are color bow shaped wooden structure which are of 6- 10... more »
Kummattikali Dance

Kummattikali Dance

Kummattikali also known as Kummatti is a colorful dance wearing masks. It is a ritualistic ceremony to propitiate the Devi where performers wearing masks and adorning garbs made of grass, dry leaves etc go from... more »

Kumbhamkali Dance

Kumbhamkali is also known as Kumbhamthullal is known as ritual pot dance which is devoted to Lord Krishna in which devotees carry pots on head perform dance.

Thattumelkoothu Dance

Thattumelkoothu is a devotional folk art. the dance is performed on a special platform which is carried around the temple by devotees even as the performance goes on.
Pootham Kali Dance

Pootham Kali Dance

Pootham Kali is a folk art performed by Mannan community in the Bagavathy temples of Malappuram District of Kerala. Pootham is a character who accompanied Lordess Durga in her combat with Darika Asura.The Performers ,... more »
Sarpa Pattu Dance

Sarpa Pattu Dance

Sarpa Pattu also known nas Sarpam thullal or snake dance is a ritual art performed in the shrines and temples that are devoted to Nagaraja, the king of Serpents. It is performed by women who... more »
Thidambu Nritham Dance

Thidambu Nritham Dance

Thidambu Nritham is a a ritualistic art form that is about 700 years old . It is performed in Temples of North Malabar. Brahmin communities like Shivalli, Karhade and Havyaka mainly perform this art. Malabar... more »
Mayilattam Dance

Mayilattam Dance

Mayilattam also known as mayilnrittam is a ritual art performed by the artists in peacock costumes. It is performed in Subramanya temples in South Kerala in reverence to Lord Subhramanya. The performers wears decorated costumes... more »

Meenakshinatakom Dance

Meenakshinatakom and Kamsanatakom are few ancient dance drama that are still in vague in some parts of Palakkad district. There are some scholars who believed that these dance are earlier than even Krishnanattom, Ramanattom etc.According... more »