Enter the enchanting world of Kathakali in Kerala, where intricate hand gestures, vibrant costumes, and emotive facial expressions transport you to a realm of storytelling and mythology. Let the spellbinding rhythms and graceful movements weave a magical spell on your senses.
Exquisite storytelling through vibrant Kathakali movements
Kathakali first appeared in Kerala and blends elaborate expressions, makeup, music, dance and drama in a highly stylised format. Special mention goes to the facial expressions which are aggressive and exaggerated. The colourful clothing and finery also define the art form and is almost an emblem carried by the state.
Performed primarily by male dancers, which is also one of the most unique elements of the art form, Kathakali portrays stories of Hindu gods and goddesses and other mythological figures. The dancers through their performance display the deeds performed by these characters. Highly complex hand gestures can be seen during the performance, which takes years of practice.
Kerala Kathakali performances usually begin with a prayer and a ceremonial lighting of lamps. A succession of scenes may be visualised, each of them picked from a distinctive chapter. The accompanying music is provided by a group of musicians, who play traditional instruments such as the chenda, maddalam, and chengila.
The process of Kathakali in Kerala begins with the selection of a story or play, which is usually based on Hindu mythology or other folktales. Subsequently, the script takes shape and is usually presented in Malayalam or Sanskrit.
Procedurally, the all-male troupe receive a training at a very early age. There is a specialised institution called Karlari, where performers get to learn acting, dancing, singing, miming and other art disciplines.
After being chosen, the performers begin a demanding training programme that could last several years. As far as Kathakali is concerned, students are taught intricate footwork and hand gestures, as well as the complex facial expressions and body movements that are characteristic of the dance form.
Creating complex costumes and makeup requires tremendous patience, and talent. The actors in accordance with the theme and story have to portray a variety of personas with their extensive makeup. Their entire ensemble is so intricate and in depth, you would even fail to recognise the actual artist. It is intended to highlight the gestures, and Mudras displayed by the performers.
This pure dance form begins with an invocation. After that, you can see a variety of solo performances, dramas, and other theatrical displays within the performance. For more visual effects, props such as swords, staffs and other articles may be used.
Kathakali is a meticulously planned art form and demands tremendous mental and physical strength, besides inclination and commitment. Practised by various enthusiasts worldwide, the dance form is one of the most distinctive and popular styles of Indian dance.
If you are interested in having a Kathakali performance at your event, contact Melodia Event Management, Kerala to find local Kathakali groups or performers and inquire about their availability and rates. It’s important to ensure that the performers are trained and experienced in the art form to ensure a high-quality performance.
Our network of event planners research and identify Kathakali performers who are available for events. We negotiate fees with the group or their representatives. We also discuss the duration, number of performers, and any other requirements that may impact the fee. Then, we arrange transportation and accommodation for the Kathakali performers. This can include flights, ground transportation, and hotel accommodations if necessary. As leading event planners in Kerala, we provide logistical support to the Kathakali performers, such as arranging for rehearsal space, sound equipment, and stage props.