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Performing Arts of Kerala

Kerala is situated at the southernmost part of India. The culture of Kerala has a Dravidian foundation. The culture originated from the historical land of Thamizhagom, which is believed to have covered the Chera, Chola, and Pandya kingdoms. The prevalent culture and the dominant language was Tamil.

In fact, Tamil is considered to be the first Dravidian Language. Thamizhagom is the modern Tamil Nadu. 1,500–2,000 years ago, the music, dance, language, and literature or Sangam in Kerala were all analogous to that found in the rest of Thamizhagom. Down the centuries, with exposure to foreign lands, the Keralite culture gradually evolved.

The classical performing arts of Kerala include the Sanskrit drama form Koodiyattom, designated as Human Heritage Art by UNESCO. The epics are retold through the centuries old form of dance-drama – the Kathakali, where “Katha” means “Story” and “Kali” means “Performance”.

The art of the temples Koothu resembles the stand-up comedies of modern times. Another popular and charming dance form is the Mohiniyattam, or the “dance of the enchantress”. It is performed by women with the accompaniment of musical instruments and lyrical discourse.

Tribal and folk arts of Kerala comprises of the artforms of the Muslims and the Christians who are the residents of this state. For instance, Oppana of the Muslims of the Malabar involves group-dance to the rhythmic beats of clappings and vocalizations.

Malayali cinema has also carved a niche for itself in the cultural arena of Kerala. It has become an indigenous manifestation of the performing arts of Kerala in these days.

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