(Last Updated on : 15-03-2019)
Folk Dances of Kerala reflect the temperaments and moods of the native people. Kerala
has a rich variety of folk dances. There are around 50 popular folk dances
in the state. Religious influence is explicitly visible in the dances
which are performed during harvests, sowing of seeds, festivals
, etc. Most of the folk dances
of Kerala are accompanied by songs which are sung by the dancers themselves or occasionally by a group of musicians
. The costumes
of these folk dances differ with places.
Some of the popular Folk Dances of Kerala are as follows:
Kakkarissi Kali is a group dance which is prevalent among the Kuravas of Thiruvananthapuram district
. It also contains wild beatings of primitive drums
like Para, Veekkan, Chenda
This dance is named as Dappu Kali because dappu, a kind of musical instrument
, is used in the dance. It is a group-dance of the Moplahs
Sarpam Thullal, a ritual folk dance of Kerala is done to appease the snake God
in the temples
. Many ancient families in Kerala have Kavus, which are the special snake shrines, whom they worship regularly, on various occasions.
Kaavadiyattom is mainly performed as an offering in temples of Lord Subrahmaniam
. For performance, a number of dancers gather in temple, dressed in yellow or rose colour costumes. They stand in a row and dance with the rhythmic beatings of instruments like Udukku
and even Nadaswaram
This is a mixed dance in which both men and women
participate. The performers move in a circle, striking small sticks and keeping rhythm with special steps. The circle expands and contracts as the dance progress.
This is a devotional offering of Pulayas
and this is the only community
who performs this ritual
, for Goddess Bhadrakali
Vela Kali is a martial
dance of the Nair community
in Kerala. The dancers are all dressed in colourful costumes and arming with shining swords and shields, they dance with vigour and co-ordination.
Thiyyattu is a devotional offering performed only in the Bhadrakali temples
. The performers are known as Thiyyattunnis. The theme behind its performance is usually the killing of demon
Darika by Goddess Bhadrakali.
Kolam Thullal is a ritual offering performed by village people, usually to get rid of the troubles and pains due to evil-spirits.
This is a dance in which only women can participate and it is usually performed in connection with the Onam
festival. All the girls are dressed in a special type of dress known as Onakkodi dress and dance in a circle.
Kummi Dance is performed by women only and is very famous in different parts of Kerala. The dancers move in a circular direction and the hand gestures
denote reaping and harvesting processes.
This dance is also known as Pulikali. Dancers get dressed up as tigers along with appropriate costumes and make-up. They dance vigorously along with the loud beating of instruments like Udukku and Thakal.
It is being performed since centuries and is sometimes called as Desathukali. It is a fast moving, militant dance having pleasant rhythmic devotional folk songs. It is said to be a ritual offering in honour of the deity Bhagavathy.
Panna is a ritual dance in Kerala for propitiating Goddess Kali
. A branch of the Pala tree is taken round the temple by about 10 to 12 persons who dance all the way to the rhythm set by percussion instruments
and to the vociferous shouting and chanting of the accompanying crowd.
Thirayattom is a ceremonial dance, which is performed as a vital part of festive celebrations in Kavus, in the Central Malabar region.
Kummatti Dance is a mask dance mostly popular in South Malabar region of Kerala. The dancers wear brightly painted wooden masks on the faces while dancing.
Other Folk Dances of Kerala
Other popular folk dances of Kerala include Arjuna Nritham
, Mudiyettu dance
, Kuthiyottam dance
, Poorakkali dance
,Garudan Thookam, Tholpavakoothu
, Kazhai Kothu, Margam Kali Dance
and Sangha Kali