DANCES OF INDIA
Kathakali literally means story-play and is an elaborate dance depicting the victory of truth over falsehood. Theme revolves around the two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. A Striking feature of Kathakali is the use of elaborate make-up and colourful costumes. This is to emphasize that the characters are super beings from another world, and their make-up is easily recognizable to the trained eye as satvik or godlike, rajasik or heroic, and tamasik or demonic. The spectators can feel his invisible presence when the heroine details dreams and ambitions through circular movements, delicate footsteps and subtle expressions. Through slow and medium tempos, the dancer is able to find adequate space for improvisations and suggestive bhavas or emotions. Costume is designed with lots of paint applied on the face of the artist. The magnificence of Kathakali is partly due to its decor, part of which include the 'Kireetam' or huge head gear, the 'Kanchukam' or the over sized jacket, and the long skirt worn over a thick padding of cushions. The curtain symbolises maya, illusion. From behind the curtain comes the invigorating sound of OM from a drum. The dance is rugged and expansive, the music shrill and piercing, the emotional representation rambling and exaggerated. The costumes, head dresses and ornaments are gorgeous and together with the make-up impart Kathakali a rather weird and fantastic aspect.
Kathakali is a harmonious combination of five forms of fine art: