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Kathakali is a rich and flourishing tradition of dance drama of the State of Kerala. It is a well-developed dance drama performance where the actors depict characters from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and from the Puranas (the ancient scriptures). Present day Kathakali is a dance drama tradition, which evolved from centuries of highly, stylized theatrical traditions of Kerala, especially Kudiyattam. Ritual traditions like Theyyams, Mudiyattam and the martial arts of Kerala played a major role in shaping the dance into its present form. Like Bharatnatyam, Kathakali also needed a resurrection in the 1930s. The great poet Vallathol rediscovered Kathakali, establishing the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1932, which lent a new dimension to the art form.

The dancers, usually men, adorn themselves in huge skirts, elaborate masks, costumes and headdress, wearing a most intricate style of make-up. The most characteristic feature of the dance form is the painted face of the dancers. Choice of colours is made according to the quality of the character portrayed; different colours depict properties like wickedness and soberness. Kathakali recitals are generally long and while other dance forms are more emotive than narrative, Kathakali is both. It combines dance with dialogue to bring myth and legend to life in the temple courtyards of Kerala. The dancers use their stunning costumes and make-up, with the accompaniment of drums and vocalists, to create various moods and emotions. So strong is the identification of the dancers with the characters they play and so absolute their conviction, that they seem to surpass themselves, becoming one with the legendary heroes and heroines they depict.

Popular Tourist Destinations in kerala