Oppana - Dance form of Kerala's Muslim Community
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.
The bride dressed in all finery, covered with gold ornaments is seated at the center and she is the chief spectator. The singing and dancing is performed in a circle around the bride.
The songs of Mappilappattu, are first sung by two or three girls and the rest join in chorus. This is accompanied by an orchestra of harmonium, thabala, ganjira and elathaalam. The themes are often teasing comments and innuendoes about the bride's anticipated nuptial bliss. The songs are composed in a composite language of Arabic & Malayalam.
Sometime Oppana is also performed by males to entertain the bridegroom. It usually takes place just before the bridegroom leaves for the bride's residence where the marriage takes place.
Another dance form especial to the Muslim community is Aravanmuttu, the origin of which can be traced back to the Arabs and is still accompanied by Arabic music.