Costumes of Kaikottikali Dance
Both the participants wear the typical Kerala costume with 'mundu' and 'neriyathu' which imply gold embroidered pieces of garments and adorn themselves with jasmine garlands. Mundu is clad on the lower portion of the body and the dancers wear the neriyathu over a blouse. The female dancers tie their hair in the beautiful shape of a bun, decorating it with fresh flowers.
Performance of Kaikottikali Dance
Women sing the melodious Thiruvathira songs; one of the performers sings the first line of a song while the rest repeat it in chorus, clapping their hands altogether. Moving in a circle, clockwise and at times anticlockwise, they bend sideways with each and every step, while their arms come together in beautiful gestures, in order to clap; upwards, downwards and even at the either side. This dance is generally performed by nearly eight to ten dancers. The girls shift about in neat circles, around an elaborately designed 'Rangoli' or 'pookalam', at the central part of which is placed a traditional lamp called 'nilavilakku'. The dance is commenced by a single performer, and is then followed by a group of other dancers who repeat it in a chorus.
The stories which are conveyed in this form of Indian dance, have been derived from 'Kathakali', another vibrant art form belonging to the southern Indian state of Kerala. Generally, the songs performed in Kaikottikali dance follow the theme of 'Shakunthalam', 'Krishna -leela', 'Dhruvacharithram' and 'Kuchelavritham'. Much greater significance is laid upon the rhythm and style of this dance rather than the 'mudra'. 'Kamboji', 'Bhairavi' and 'Hussaini' are the important 'ragas' which are an integral part of Kaikottikali Dance. However, at times, some devotional songs, or songs motivated by those obtained from Puranas are also employed in this beautiful dance form. The devotional songs performed are dedicated to Lord Krishna, Goddess Saraswati and Lord Ganpati. Certain songs are also sung, praising a king named King Mahabali. This is done as a popular legendary tale has revealed that the festival of Onam commemorates the advent of this ruler in Kerala.