Kerala Performing Arts|Kerala Moments

Posted by Kerala Moments on January 17, 2019


Kerala has a strong tradition in performing arts.   It is the artists with their movement, make-up and story telling that keep the audiences enthralled . The acts have a heritage that goes deep into the history of Kerala.

Here is a taste of just some of the many performing rituals and martial arts that are prevalent in Kerala.

Performing Arts

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Kathakali is the most famous of the performing arts in Kerala.  With a history that goes back over 300 years,  it combines drama, dance and music.  The dancers dress in elaborate costumes and magnificent make up tell the  fascinating stories of their  Indian past.

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Developed in Kerala, Kalaripayattu is one of the most important martial arts in the world,  it is about the ultimate coordination of mind and body.  The training starts with an oil body massage to make the body  agile and supple.  Due to the running, jumping and somersaulting this fast and vibrant performance is exciting to watch.    Weapons such as swords, daggers and spears  add to the excitement and challenges of the performance.


The story played out is of Lord Vishnu, who is believed to have once come to the aid of the Gods by assuming the form of the beautiful  Mohini.  As a result he manages to seduce the God’s arch enemies and overthrow them.  The story is told in the Mohiniyattam classical dance.  The temple dancers of old  started this dance tradition in commemoration of this  mythological event, and the captivating classical dance can still be admired today.


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Performed by men in temples in the south of Kerala. The dancers  dressed in traditional clothes and colourful head wear,  portray the story of the medieval Nair soldiers.  The dancers engage in vigorous movements and  sword play and this dance is a regular feature of Kerala’s celebrations and festivities.


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