History of Parichamuttu Kali Dance
Parichamuttu Kali Dance has played an important role in contributing to Kerala's rich and vibrant culture. This dance is also famous as 'war dance' as it is the physical exercise of swordplay and defence. The history of Parichamuttu kali can be traced back to ancient days when Kalaripayattu was prevalent in Kerala. Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest Indian martial art of ancient Kerala. It includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods.
Style of Parichamuttu Kali Dance
Parichamuttu kali dance is not popular as an individual performance. The beauty of this traditional folk dance lies in the symmetry and equilibrium of rhythm maintained by the artists. It requires enthusiasm, vigour and flexibility. Generally, the boys between the ages of twelve and twenty one participate in Parichamuttu.
Decorative swords and shields usually made of wood are the indispensable props of this creative dance form. Here, the performers dance by holding the swords and shields in their hands. The dancers need to be extremely focused and careful about their each and every movement.
One more prop needed in this dance is a large five-wick lighted oil lamp. The participants dance around the temple and follow the movements and steps of Kalarippayattu.
Another interesting part of this dance form is it requires a leader popularly known as 'Asan' who sing songs to the chimes of a bell. A major stress is given on Kerala folk tunes. All the dancers surround the leader and follow the songs sung by the Asan. The steps and themes of the songs have the essence of martial arts. As a consequence, this type of dancing works as a catalyst in the physical, mental and spiritual development of an individual.
In terms of costume, Parichamuttu kali strictly demands a proper dress code. The dancers wear white loin cloth with red wrist-bands which enables them to enact all the flexible movements with ease.
Places famous for Parichamuttu Kali Dance
Parichamuttu kali dance is popular in various places of Kerala. The southern districts of Kerala like Kottayam and Ernakulam and the northern district of Malappuram is quite active in keeping this age old tradition alive.
Previously, this dance just used to be a religious offering but today it has turned out to be a Christian entertainment art as well.
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