(Last Updated on : 09/01/2015)
Kolkali dance is practiced by the inhabitants of the region of North Malabar, located in the southern Indian state
. It is a group dance
and is believed to be in existence for more than a millennium. It is performed on various occasions to celebrate joy and spread happiness.
Etymology of Kolkali
The literal meaning of Kolkali is 'dance with sticks' as Kol means 'stick' and kali means 'dance'.
Performance of Kolkali Dance
The performance of this rhythmic dance requires great control of steps. The interesting part of Kolkali is that people of all ages can participate in it. The participants perform the dance, by moving about in circular patterns, striking sticks and engaging in small steps, along-with the rhythm. The circle get expanded and contracted as the dance progress further. This dance form reaches its climax, when the music
played rises at a certain pitch. Kolkali dance has borrowed certain characteristics from Kalaripayyatt dance of Kerala
Around twelve to twenty four dancers
move rhythmically in a circle around the ceremonial lamp, tapping their feet along with long wooden sticks held in their hands. The Muslim, Christians and Harijans also perform this same dance. Muslim Kolkali is similar to the Kolkali practiced by the nearby area; however the only difference is that, only the men folk participate in it. The vibrant steps are accompanied by the background vocal music consisting of meaningless syllables followed by folk songs. At the beginning of the dance, it starts slowly but reaches a fast tempo creating an interesting climax. There are diverse choreographic patterns in the dance.
In general, Kolkali is presented once in a year after paddy harvest where all the villagers participate without any caste and creed. But now-a-days, Kolkali is also practiced on various tribal festivals and occasions including wedding
ceremonies. Sometimes, the dance is performed on a specially constructed wooden stage thus it is also called Thattinmelkali. The dancers perform this dance by wearing traditional attires.
Musical Instruments of Kolkali Dance
The sound of the sticks is the main music of this dance. However sometimes, musical instruments
, Elathalam, Mathalam and Chengala accompany this dance.