(Last Updated on : 03/04/2014)
Folk dances in South India bring out the flavour of dance breeze from the southern zone. Diverse is India, so is its taste. When it comes to branding of types such as genre the sky of folk dancing is clouded.
Various tribal and folk dances are alive in the southern zone. Among the South Indian Dances, the folk and tribal dances form a major part. South India is renowned as the state practicing all these dance forms intricately. The folk dances of South India comprise Koodiyattam
, Ottamthullal, Oppana, Kerala
Natanam and Yakshagana
, Padayani of Kerala and Kollattam of Tamil Nadu
One of the famous regional forms of South Indian Dances
contains the war dances of Kerala. The spectacular martial dance known as Velakali is performed in the temples of Southern Kerala by Nair warriors.
This dance is performed by female folk balancing pots on their heads. This is performed in the Telengana region.
Yakshagana is a folk theatre form of Karnataka, exemplary of an ancient art relating with many of the traditions and conventions of the Sanskrit theatre or drama, particularly those of the Purvaranga and the existence of a character, vidushaka
. The first Yakshagana play was in Telugu and was written in the 16th century by Peda Kempa Gaudan and was called as Ganga Gauri Vilasam. The renaissance period dawned upon, followed by the 17th century, which was the time when the Yakshagana form developed in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu
Dollu Kunitha Dance
Kunitha are considered as the ritualistic dances of Karnataka
, of which the Dollu Kunitha is one of the ritualistic dances that is popular with the kurubas of 'Beereshvara Sampradaya'. One of the popular dance forms of Karnataka, kunitha is accompanied by the beats of the drums, and singing of the dancers. The beating drums are decorated by available colours or flowers. Only the men of the shepherd community (Kuruba community) are privileged to perform this dance.
is a type of dance-drama distinctive to the Tamils. As performed for an entertaining objective, whose emphasis is balanced between the classical & traditional one.
This is a kind of folk dance which is performed with balancing pot on head. The villagers perform this dance in praise of the rain goddess "Mari Amman" and the river goddess "Gangai Amman" as a part of their custom. In this dance, the performers balance the water pot on their head very beautifully.
It is most important village dance of Tamil Nadu. This dance form is performed by the women folk. This form is performed with no assistance of musical instruments but with the clapping. This dance is usually performed during temple festival.
is a folk dance, very famous in all parts of Tamil Nadu. This dance is performed by the help of sticks. A festival connected with Kolaattam has both a cultural and a religious significance.
While visiting any pilgrimage or any such holy place, ancient Tamilians, used to carry the offerings to the gods. This used to be tied to the either end of the long stick usually made up of bamboo and then balanced on their shoulders.
The word "Nondi" means the one who limps and "Natakam" means play. This form originated during the late 17th or early 18th century in Tamil Nadu state itself. The play is a descriptive one and it is developed around two themes- devotion and forgiveness, as experienced by a one-legged thief. As a course of dance, he narrates his tale- as a thief in love with an unethical courtesan, the final redemption through devotion to God and the healing of his physical afflictions.
Pavai Koothu is considered as a form of early year's puppet shows. Some called it as a glove puppet theatre of the 16th century. "Pavai" means woman, "Koothu" means play. The name is quite appropriate to its theme, as all the stories concern with the feelings of Vali, one of Lord Shiva
's attendants, for Subramanya, who is one of Shiva's son.
Kai Silambu Aattam Dance
This dance is performed in temples during the time of Amman festivals or Navaratri festival. The dance is in praise of all the female deities, the most preferred being the powerful angry Goddess also known as Shakti -Goddess Kali
or Goddess Durga
Another special folk dance of Tamil Nadu is Snake dance. The concept of this form has originated from the belief that snake is a protective divinity keeping safe the health of the rural people.
This folk form is also very popular among the young girls of Tamil Nadu. This is performed by girls dressed as peacocks.
This group dance is prevalent among the Kuravas of Thiruvananthapuram district
. It also contains wild beatings of primitive drums like para, veekkan chenda etc.
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 of Malabar.
Many ancient families in Kerala have Kavus, which are the special snake shrines, whom they worship regularly, on various occasions.
This dance 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.
This is a devotional offering of Pulayas and this is the only community who performs this ritual, for Bhadrakali.
This is a martial dance of the Nair community in Kerala. Vela Kali is famous in their respected region. This illuminates ancient warfare in Kerala in all its tradition and valour. The dancers are all dressed in colourful costumes and arming with shining swords and shields, they dance with vigour and coordination.
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 Darika by Bhadrakali.
This 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.
It 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. One of the women from a group leads with a favourite song while the rest of the group repeats it afterwards. Each performer renders a new line as their turn comes and the dance stops when all members get tired or bored.
This dance is also known as Pulikali. Dancers get ready dressed up as tigers along with appropriate costumes and make-up. They dance vigorously along with the loud beating of instruments like Udukku, 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.
It is a ceremonial dance, which is performed as a vital part of festive celebrations in Kavus, in the Central Malabar region.
It is a mask dance mostly popular in South Malabar region of Kerala. The dancers wear brightly painted wooden masks on the faces while dancing.
Arjuna Nritham, Mudiyettu dance
, Kuthiyottam Dance, Poorakkali dance
, Garudan Thookam, Tholpavakoothu, Krishnanattom, Mayil Attam and Kazhai Kothu are other popular folk dances of Kerala.