Dazzling classical dance of Kerala is Kathakali. ‘Katha’= Story or tale, ‘Kali’= Performance and Art. Its roots are in ancient ‘Kutiyattam’ (Classical Sanskrit Dance Drama) and ‘Krishnattam’ (Dance-Drama depicting Stories of Hindu God Krishna).
Movements in Kathakali are influenced by ancient martial arts and athletic tradition. It is basically a Dance-Drama.
Kathakali was traditionally a male-dominated dance and now females are too welcomed in this dance form. Kathakali is also famous for its huge elaborate costumes, amazing make-up style, face masks, and ornaments.
Unlike other Classical Dances, Kathakali art form developed in the courts and theaters of Hindu principalities. The traditional performances were used to be as long from Dusk to dawn. Modern day presentations are short as per the time limit of the program. The Kerala Kalamandalam is the main center for Kathakali Artists.
Kathakali has similarities with other dance forms like that of the Japanese ‘ Noh’ and ‘Kabuki’ dance forms have similarities with Kathakali.
The main themes used in Kathakali
Mythological themes include Ramayan, Mahabharat, Bhagvat Purana, etc.
Also modern day Kathakali dancers present stories and plays of Shakespeare
The makeup for Kathakali
According to the role of the dancer, his face is colored/painted.
The colors are made in rice paste with vegetable colors and applied on the face.
The Green for Noble characters.
Tati (Red) for evil like Ravana.
Kari (black) for hunters and monsters.
Yellow for women etc.