The History of Kathakali Classical Art

Kathakali is a classical dance form from the Indian state of Kerala. It incorporates music, song, story-telling and religious themes to create an experience for the audience. Kathakali was originally performed only by men but now has become popular with women as well. The history of this art is long and can be traced back to at least 500 years ago when it was first developed in the Chera dynasty.

The word Kathakali literally means “story play” or “play with songs and music.” It is traditionally considered as one of the major creative art forms of India. This form of dance-drama has roots in ancient Sanskrit theatre traditions, particularly those found in southern India. Traditionally, actors wear colorful costumes and elaborate makeup to depict an epic story from Hindu texts; this includes dancing, singing, acting out dialogues (or pantomime), and playing musical instruments.

Kathakali performances are usually 2 hours long which include both storytelling sections where actors wear masks that represent various emotions or roles such as demons or gods, and choreographed sections where they also use their hands and feet expressively.