(Last Updated on : 03/08/2013)
in Southern India preoccupies itself with the tribal features and the associated characteristics. Tribal dance forms of Kerala
replicate the long drawn tradition and rituals of the land and reveal all its cultural glory. Kerala has more than thirty five different types of tribal dances, like, Elelakkaradi, Paniyarkali, Mullakurumbar, Uralikurumbar, Paniya, and Mankali. Certain tribal dances are accompanied by songs. Either the dancers themselves sing or the on-lookers sing and thus participating in the performances. Special musical instruments are sometimes used but drum is almost an indispensable feature of the tribal dance forms in Kerala.
Kurumbar Nritham is among the most popular tribal dance forms of Kerala. The tribes of Wayanad district
perform this special type of dance which is related to marriages. The dance is performed both before marriage and after marriage by the members of the families of both bride and bridegroom. In addition to that the newly wedded couple also performs this dance. Tribal dance forms of Kerala also include Kaanikkar Nritham. It is a group dance of the Kanikkar Tribe
in Kerala. The steps of the dancers beautifully coordinate with the waving of the hands and beating of drums. Elelakkaradi is another common dance among the tribes of Kerela
. It is a heroic group dance in which almost the whole Irular community of men, women and children participate. The dance resembles the fight of the people against the wild bears which often attack their tribal hamlets.
Kaadar Nritham is one of the common tribal dance forms of Kerala where only women participate. This dance form is popular among the Kadar tribe
of Cochin forests and is a primitive form. It is simple but a very elegant dance form. The performers arrange themselves in a semicircle. Paravalli Kali is also recognised as among the popular tribal dance forms of Kerala. It is a mixed dance of the aboriginals of dense forest of Travancore
area. Both men and women participate in this tribal form of dance. The dance develops into variety of pleasing pattern and the men and women change their positions with amazing speed.
Koorankali is a tribal dance where one man takes the role of a wild bear with another enacting the role of hunting dog. The movements are perfectly timed to the rhythmic beats of primitive drums. During the performance, large number of onlookers forms a circle round the two dancers, with cries of joy and occasional clapping of hands and jerky dances. The whole dance drama is enacted with graceful movements.
Paniyar Kali is a masculine dance form performed by the men folks of Paniyar tribes of Wayanad district. About eight or ten dancers take part in the dance and stand in a circle with hands linked together. They move around with rhythmic flexions of the body. As the dancers gather momentum the circle is swiftly expanded and contracted and the dancers utter peculiar cries which gradually reach to a high pitch. Edaya Nritham is the dance form of men and women from the tribal shepherds. In this dance form one of the shepherds sings. This is repeated in chorus by all the rest. As the singing is continues one of them imitates the special sounds of shepherds driving their sheep. The dance consists of someone of the group crying successively to imitate the wild animals while the other members of the group adeptly bring out the terror on their faces.
houses many tribal sects such as the Bhanjaras, Chenchus and Mathuris. In the "Dandaria dance", apart from instruments, time is also maintained by striking sticks one against the other. The Bhanojaras and the Lambadis have costumes of light hues and skirts and blouses studded with small mirrors. Their dance form is called "Bhanjara".
, the Toda and the Kurumba tribals of Kerala, have rites, rituals and ceremonies, all revolved around agriculture. Kummi and Kolattam are the two most famous folk dances performed by the tribal women of Tamil Nadu. In Kummi, claps maintain the beat, while in Kollattam beat is sustained by striking two sticks. In this form of Indian tribal dance, each dancer possesses two sticks often painted in dazzling colours. In "Pinnal Kolattam", some divisions of the group systematically work up a visual pattern, lacing coloured ropes together, hung from a peg in the ceiling, synchronous with the music. In course of the dance, the "Pinnal" or the plait is also slowly disentangled to synchronise with the music and the ropes are back to their single-strand shape, precisely when the dance and the music stops. The Muslim community of Tamil Nadu possess a monopoly over the dance called "Pulli Atam", where the men folk dress ornately like a stripped carnivore, with tail, claws, whiskers and dance in the streets. "Karagam" is another Indian tribal dance form of Tamil Nadu
dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, the Goddess of health and rain. Men and women balance pots of uncooked rice on their heads to the accompaniment of pipes and drums.
"Kunitha" is a generic term, emblematic of a ritualistic dance in Karnataka. In the "punja Kunitha", a wooden structure is balanced on the head with a deity within it. The "Dollu Kunitha" is a much-admired drum dance of Karnataka. The men play on large drums decorated with coloured cloth, slung around their necks, beating on it as they dance. Indian tribal dances are truly varied and umpteen, much like the country's other aspects, united with diversity.