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Cochin Travel Guide

Kathakali In Kochi



Khatakali is an ancient classical dance from Kerala, the city is the only place on the state where the traditional performance is shown in live, this Keralan dance come shown since the 17th century, and represent stories from the Hindu epics, Mahabharatha and Ramayana, and show Indian mythology and folklore, the Kathakali has elaborate costumes that show the exotic dresses and other items. The Kathakali is considered a combination of five elements of fine art, Expresion (Natyam), Dance (Nritham), Enactment (Nritham), Song accompaniment (Geetha), Instrument accompaniment (Vadiam).

The dancers of Kathakali have a special preparation in their costumes and their face, the face is elaborately painted like a mask, accompanied by an mid-mask and great headgear, the expression in the face and eyes of the dancer hold the key to perfection. The masculine aspect is important in the dance; it is preserved in its elemental vigor.

The performance of Kathakali consist in the first part in an talk introduction, then the artist makes some act with hands and body movements using the Natyasatra, after, they dance using the concentration, skill and physical stamina; for this act they had been training during 8 to 10 years practicing the Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art of Kerala, the dance is accompanied by music of percussion that uses instruments as the Chenda, Maddalam and Edakka, and songs using the Chengala and Llathaalom. The dance is based in the hand and body movement, and in facial expression. One performance is showed from 2 to 4 hours, and in the night, for the performance is used a Kalivilakku that is a traditionally lamp used for provide light when the dance was performed inside of temples.

The training of the most popular Kathakali artists was made in one of the four more popular academies from Cochin; in these centers they learned the traditional Gurukula style, these academies are Kerala Kalamandalam, PSV Natya Sanghom , Gandhi Seva Sadan Kathakali and Classic Arts Academy and Unnayi Varier Smaraka Kalanilayam, these centers are the oldest centers in Kerala, some of them was opened in the pre-independent era from India. Exist other academies but these are relatively new and the instructors are disciples from the masters of the one of the four ancient centers.

For see live Kathakali, you can go to one of this centres: Cochin Cultural Center (located in Souhardham, Manikath Road), Kerala Kathakali Centre (Cochin Aquatic Club, River Road), Dr Devan's Kathakali (India Foundation, Kalathiparambil Lane), and Art Kerala (Kannanthodathu Lane, Valanjambalam). But if you want to see the best performances, you can take aim at an all-night recital at temple festival or least one of the recitals given by the Ernakulam Kathakali Club offered once a month.


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