THIRAYATTAM DANCE – KERALA

THIRAYATTAM DANCE, KERALA, INDIA

Fusing elements of “music and theatre” is a dance form performed mainly in South Malabar known as Thirayattam. This “ethnic” dance form has its origin in the state of Kerala, and is usually performed in a courtyard which in the local language is known as “kaavukal”. It is believed that this dance form can only be performed by a community called “Perumannan”. However, as of today there are members belonging to other communities such as the “Panan” and “Cherumar” who also perform this form of dance.

a. History/origin of Thirayattam:

In terms of history/origin of this dance form, there is not much information available.

b. Costumes used in the Thirayattam:

The costumes used in this dance form is similar to Theyyam and includes aleaf dress i.e. Tazha Adai, headdress also known as muti arayoda, and other body decorations. In addition, many of the costumes used are basically made up of tender coconut, and hence is also discarded after a single performance. Furthermore, specially prepared masks and crowns are also used in this dance.

c. Music involved in the Thirayattam:

The musical instruments involved in this dance form include the chenda i.e. a drum, ila thalam i.e. a pair of cymbals, kombu, thudi, panchayudham, and kuzhal.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Thirayattam:

This dance form essentially involves the performer making use of vigorous body movements in complete harmony with the accompanying music produced by the drums i.e. chenda and pair of cymbals i.e. ila thalam. As for training centres/schools, there are none available throughout the country since this dance form has essentially been developed in the south Malabar region, and has been passed on from one generation to another. However, this dance was performed at the International Ethnic Folklore Festival held at New Delhi in October 2016.

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