Dance is a form of art that expresses emotions the best. There are many forms of dance and each one has its own unique mixture of moves that helps in making the dance a unique one. The dance forms differ with respect to culture and place making it one of the most varied forms of art present in the world. India is a country that has a lot of cultural diversity and hence has given rise to many dance forms. One of the most well known dance forms that has gained famed over the decades is Kathakali. This particular dance form is indigenous to the state of Kerala which lies on the southwestern part of the country of India.
The Kerala Kathakali dance form is an ancient one and needs a lot of practice for one to master. The name Kathakali is made up by two words, katha meaning story and kali meaning performance. The dance form of Kathakali deals not only with dance but it is a mixture of music, drama, dance and rituals. This form of dance that prevails in the southwestern part of India is in fact one of the oldest dance forms of the world and portrays the stories of the epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana.
The dance form of Kathakali can be divided into five major parts which put together brings out the elegance and charm of the dance form. The five main parts of the dance form are known as Chithram or painting, Sahithyam or literature, Nritham or dance, Natyam or acting and Sangeetham or music.
The Kathakali in Kerala is said to have developed from a drama cum dance form known as the Ramanatttam and Krishnanattam. With the advent of time this particular dance form seems to have surpassed the forms of dance from which it was derived. At the present day this dance form is at its height and is recognized as one of the most elegant dance forms of the world. The precision with which the dance is performed, the elaborate costumes worn and the colourful paints that they adorn takes years of practice to perfect. A Kathakali performer usually would have begun to learn the dance form as a child and only when he is an adult would he have mastered it. The dance form takes years of practice and it is usually after ten years of rigorous training and practice that one would be able to enact the dance form with precise precision.
The epic stories are portrayed through facial expressions, costumes and the background music. It is amazing that facial expressions can portray so much of emotion and speak out without the help of words. A skilled Kathakali performer can express almost any emotion with his facial expressions and surprise you with the variety that he may possess.
This classical dance form of Kerala has been passed down generation after generation and has been well preserved by the people of Kerala. One can witness this dance form at one of the many centers of Kathakali that showcase them. A performance of this ancient dance form is a must see when you are visiting the state of beauty tradition and art which is loviongly called as Gods Own Country.