KATHAKALI (from Kerala, picturesque state on the west coast of India): Kerala has a rich and flourishing tradition of dance drama. There the drums roll in the night calling to see a great show. Kathakali, a stylish, well-developed dance drama, is a performance where the actors show characters from epics Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas (ancient scriptures about eternal struggle between good and evil). Dancers are adorned with huge skirts, belts, and complex makeup, with masks and elaborate costumes. Recitals are long and, while other dance forms are more emotive than narrative, Kathakali is both. It combines dance with dialogue to give life to the myth and legend in the temple courtyards of Kerala. The dancers use their costumes and stunning makeups, accompanied by drums and vocalists to create several moods and emotions.
The origin of this style is found in the Tirayattam dances (tantric rituals in honor of the goddess Bhagavati); Pambu Thullal dances (worship of snakes) and martial arts of the Nayars. Kathakali has: nritta (technical dance), nritya (expression) and natya (drama), predominance of tandava aspect (male). It requires mastery of body muscles, agility and strength. It stands out in rectangular postures, big jumps and wide and vigorous movements. The second position in demi-plie is very open, with feet wide apart from each other, leaning on the outside of the plant. The expressive aspect is so developed that is considered the culmination of the drama in dance, and hand gestures are extraordinary rich.