(Last Updated on : 29/08/2011)
Velan Veriyatal marks the beginning of the dance-tradition in Tamilakam. The ambivalence of the possibilities of an art is verified by the intra-artistic processes and also the demand of socio-cultural situation. The artistic content is manifested by a secret or riddle. Veriyatal cannot be expressed according to the norms of the dance-art in the present day. It is not possible to translate it in the language of logic but it can be considered as a break-through into the future. The dominating spiritual principles of that epoch are embodied in Veriyatal art. Internally its function is vast and universally applicable but externally it is disinterested and non functional. In some of the most important features Veriyatal is the opposite of magic. Magic is a form of suggestive mobilization of the spirit. It can also be considered as a superhuman effort to overcome helplessness or to attain an awesome object in relation to which man is not free.
Rites, rituals, totemic notions and myths belong to separate categories. Rites are recurrent, cyclical and are linked with significant activities like hunting, healing, and others. Rituals are intentional and a particularly planned. Veriyatal is a ritual that helped the Tamils of that epoch to take an incredible leap into a highest creative level. Later generations perceived it as a basic artistic image. Subsequent expansion of the content testifies to its potential as an art-form. Later the women unite with the group of male-dancers. They are known as 'Anakuru makalir'. Their dance gestures largely resembled the hops and trots of cattle. It is the sense for the beautiful mechanism of perception and the specificity of the creative process. Male dancers are Kuttarpirar and the lady artist is Virali.
Veriyatal is included under the category of Satthuvati. The continuation of the dance process is evident in 'Kuravai'. Sangam anthologies do mention the Kuravai dance. Maduraikkanchi refers to Munrutoru ninra Kuravai performed in public places. Kuravai dances are associated with war-operations during Silappathikaram days. In it a victorious king is joined by soldiers and they dance on the deck of the king's chariot. A victorious king is followed by war-heroes and Viraliyar, who dance as a group hailing the victory.