About Kaikottikali dance form
Kaikottikali popularly known as Thiruvathirakali is one of the renowned group dances in Kerala. It is performed by women during the splendid festival -Onam and Thiruvathira. Kaikottikali is a sophisticated dance form in which ‘Lasya’ or the beauty element is paramount. In some parts of Malabar, an element of ‘Thandava’ is also included in this dance form when men also participate.
Kaikottikali is a diverse and authentic dance that is performed on the day when Lord Shiva was born. The women perform it seeking blessings to sustain eternal marital joy and bliss. It falls in the Malayalam month-‘Dhanu’ (usually in the month of December-January ).
The tales represented in Kaikottikali owe to Kathakali, a sagacious dance form of Kerala. ‘Ragachaya’ of Kaikottikali originates from Kathakali. The songs are based on ‘Krishna-leela’, ‘ Shakunthalam’, ‘Kuchelavritham’, and’ Dhruvacharithram’. Rhythmic movements are more emphasized than ‘mudra’. Occasionally, devotional songs are also offered in the worship of Saraswati, Ganapati, and Krishna. According to a famous legend, the festival of Onam celebrates the arrival of King Mahabali to the state of Kerala.
Kaikottikali songs include Hussaini, Bhairavi and Kamboji ragas.
The women in this dance wear a gold-bordered traditional two-piece cloth. ” Mundu”- a one-piece cloth draped on the lower part of the body and “neriyathu”- a cloth worn over a blouse. The women charmingly decorate their hair bun with a fragrant jasmine garland and look very graceful.
How is the dance performed?
Kaikottikali is a symmetrical rhythmic dance marked by graceful gestures of arms performed by a group of 8 to 10 women. A marvelous coordination is portrayed by the women folk accompanied by clapping and moving in circles sometimes clockwise and sometimes in anti-clockwise directions. The women harmoniously clap with rhythm and beat to the tune of the song they sing. The dancers move around intricately decorated flower rangoli named ‘pookalam’. At the centre of ‘pookalam’ stands the ‘nilavilakku’, which is the traditional brass lamp (ceremonial lamp). One of the performers starts a line which is repeated by others as a chorus.
More than 6,500 women from 21 different states danced their way to the Guinness book of world records by performing ‘Thiruvathirakkali’, Kerala’s popular dance form, in Kizhakkambalam on May 2, 2017.