About Kerala Folk Dance Forms

Aadi Vedan 

Aadivedan is an ancient folk art prevalent in certain areas of Kannur district. Aadi and Vedam represent parvathy and siva. All the characters who enact these two roles normally belong to two different communities. It is performed during day time. 


Arjunanritham is a popular dance from in Alleppey and Kottayam districts. This is performed by one or two persons at night and the lighting is done by the traditional lamp called 'Nilavilakku'. This dance is said be performed by Arjunan praising Bhadrakali. Since the lower part of the garments of the dance is made of peacock feathers, the dance is also known as "Mayilpeeli Thookkam". 


Kozhipporukali means community entertainment. The main features of the performance include the singing of a rhythmic song about cock fight, with the performer holding staves two to three feet long. Background accompaniments are provided by bells and dolak. There are many intricate martial movements which the performers go through. After commencing in a slow tempo this is worked up to a high pitch before the performance concludes. This art form is prevalent in Chirayinkizhu, Kilimanoor and Pazhaya kunnummal at Thiruvananthapuram District. 

Thalamkali (Thalikakkali)

This dance prevalent in Malappuram District is performed by the Thiyas. It is said that this used to be popular as a performance during the celebrations of Thaikettu (a ritual in which the young girls who attain puberty go through a mock marriage). The performers stand in circle and sing to a rhythm. After that they carry plates in both palms and go through intricate twisting and turning. However intricate the twisting and turning, the plates will remain stuck to the palms with a pot full of water on the head and plates carried on the palm. 


Also known also as Pavakoothu and Nizhalkoothu, this dance performed by Pulavanmars is prevalent in Palakkadu and Ponnani Taluks. The puppets are arranged behind along curtain. Behind the puppets brightly burning oil wick lamps are kept. The singer recites songs from the kamba Ramayana. The puppets are made to move and dance.  

Chavitukali (Cherumakkali)

Popular in Malaappuram District, this is performed by the Pulaya Community during temple festivals. When the performers stand in a circle, the leader of the troupe recites two lines of a song. The others repeat the lines. No percussion instruments or lighting effects are used. 


Prevalent in many areas of Ponnani and Thirur Taluks in Malappuram District, this is performed in the honour of the Chathan, a village deity.  In this dance, the performers carry two short sticks. They click these sticks together in rhythm. Each particular dance sequence takes about ten minutes. A particular type of Chenda is used as background rhythm.


Popular in Thiruvananthapuram and Chirayinkizhu taluks and in Kilimanoor, Pazhayakunnummal and Thattathumala regions, this is in vogue among vedars, Parayars and Kuravar tribes. From among the eight performers, two spin around each other like serpents and rise up. The costumes include andalwood paste on the forehead, a red towel round the head, red silk around the waist and bells round the ankles.


This dance is a dramatic visual art by Pariah community prevalent in Chittoor Taluk of Palakkad District. An artist in the costume of Ganapathy appears first on the stage. He is followed by such characters as Panakaran (Richman) his servant, his two wives, and a Kolkaran. The leader sings a song in Kavu style. Of the two wives of the rich man, one turns as an informer against him. This is followed by his misfortunes. On account of the prayers of the other wife it all ends happily.

Malayan Kettu
This art form prominent in all over Kannur District is usually performed for the sake of those women who have miscarriages. Under a decorated 'Pandal', Kolams are drawn with the help of rice flour, charcoal powder and turmeric powder. The pregnant woman sits in front of this Kalam. Actors in the garbs of deities like Raktheswari, Gulikan, Yakshi, come and dance in front of the kalam.

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