Koodiyattam dance form
Kutiyattam (Koodiyattam) is around 2000 years old classical dramatic art form of Kerala. Before the emergence of the Fifteenth century, Kutiyattam dance form attained its fully-fledged form in its dramatic presentation.
Where is it performed?
The temple theatres, Koothambalam, are the famous platforms for the Chyakyar and Nambyar caste members who usually perform Koodiyatam dance. The list of Koothamablams (temple theatres) for performing Kutiyattam is given below:
3. Thiruvaalathur (Kodumba)
The techniques involved
Kutiyattam means “acting together”. This dance form encompasses lengthy acting scenes involving hand gestures and acting modes like “Ilakiyaattom”, “Pakarnnaatttom” and “Irunnaattom”. The Koodiyattam artists express their emotions in the play through intense body movements, their speech, the costume, the ornaments, the props, and physical reactions to various emotions. The role of Vidhushaka in Koodiyattam is a very crucial one as he plays the role of an actor as well as a commentator (speaks in Malayalam) of the play. Even though hilarity is the basic mood of a Vidhushaka, he also illuminates the audience with his wisdom.
Themes of Koodiyattam
The Kutiyattam performances are based on Sanskrit ‘ankoms’ (chapters) based on Hindu mythology the examples of which are “Mayaseethankom” and “Shoorppanakhaankom”.The play is only enacted in parts that are divided. Formerly, a single ‘ankam’ used to take up to 41 days’ time to complete a single chapter. Nowadays, it’s brought down 8 days.
Instruments in Koodiyattam
The instruments used in a Kutiyattam performance are:
Mizhavu (major musical instrument -played only by the nambiyars),
Make-up and Attire
The Characters in the Koodiyattam are prominent by green color accompanied by a small curved paper frame over their face. The costumes are brightly colored which are mainly red, black, and white, although Vidushaka’s costume is different which sets him apart from the rest with clownish and comic features.
Worldwide recognition of the dance form
UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) has of late proclaimed and honored Koodiyattam as one of the greatest “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”, which should be safeguarded and conserved. The UN body for the first time declared a heritage status on an art form.
This conventional dance form was dying as the Koodiyattam committee lacked funds to preserve and pass on this dance form to the next generation. UNESCO then took up a program for creating a network of Koodiyattam institutions to protect this ancient cultural dance form.
Check out the video of this amazing dance.