Kerala is home to a number of dance and artforms. Several dance forms which originated in Kerala are today popular worldwide especially the Kathakali dance form. Given below is a list of some of the most popular dance forms in Kerala.
Kathakali Dance of Kerala
Originated over 500 years ago, Kathakali is a spectacular classical dance form of Kerala. It is a combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world. The word 'Katha' in
Malayalam means Story and 'kali' means Play. Thus Kathakali literally means 'Story-Play'.
Kathakali Dance Form »
Theyyam Kerala Dance Form
Theyyam other wise known as Kaliyattam or Thirayattam, is one of the most outstanding folk arts of Kerala. Just as the name Kaliyattam indicates, it is a sacred ritual dance performed to glorify the goddess Kaali. The
term 'Theyyam' is supposed to be the corrupt form of the Malayalam word 'Daivam', meaning God.It earned the name Thirayattam as every thira or village performed this ritualistic art at the village temple known as
The word 'Thullal' means 'Caper' or 'to leap or jump about playfully'. This art form emerged in the eighteenth century. A solo performance combining both dance and recitation, thullal is the explication of a tale - normally
drawn from the puranas, narrated in verse.
Thullal Dance Form »
Koodiyattam Dance Form
Koodiyattam is the earliest classical dramatic art form of Kerala. Evidence show that this dance form was in vogue in all major temples from ninth century, and it became a full-fledged dramatic presentation before the fifteenth century.
Koodiyattam literally means "acting together". Koodiyattam is a temple art and probably the only surviving form of the traditional presentation of Sanskrit drama.
Koodiyattam Dance Form »
Duffmuttu or Aravanmuttu
Duffmuttu (also known as Aravanmuttu or Arbanamuttu) is a dance form particular to the Muslim community of Kerala. The origin of Duffmutt can be traced back to the Arabs. It is still accompanied by Arabic music. The name
Duffmuttu is attributed to the use of an instrument called duff or tap. Daff is a round percussion instrument with one side covered with hide and is used to produce rhythm.
Oppana is a dance form specific to the Muslim community of Kerala. Oppana is usually a bridal group dance performed the day before the wedding day. It is a dance form essential to the wedding entertainment and festivities of the Muslims
especially in the Malabar region of Kerala. Oppana is generally presented by young female relatives of the bride, who sing and dance around the bride clapping their hands.
Oppana Dance Kerala »
Kaikottikali or Thiruvathirakali
Kaikottikkali, also known as Thiruvathirakali, is a very popular group dance of Kerala. Thiruvathirakali is performed by the women of Hindu community, often during festive seasons like Onam and the Thiruvathira day in the Malayalam month of Dhanu
Kaikottikali Dance Kerala »
Margamkali of Kerala
Margamkali is a very ancient and the most popular artistic performance prevalent among the Syrian Christians of Kerala. Margamkali is performed mainly by men on festive occasions, especially during the time of marriage.
Margamkali Dance Kerala »
North Kerala has many rich art traditions, of which "Thitambu Nritham" is one. It is mainly performed by Namboothiris of this part of Kerala, and rarely other Braahmanan communities, say for example, Embranthiris.