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Kerala Kalamandalam that teaches the globally recognized art form of Kerala -- Kathakali, has for the first time in its history of 90 years, admitted girl students.
In class VII of Kalamadalam, out of 10 students admitted, 9 are girl students for its Kathakali course. Kathakali is a highly masculine art form with even the female characters being portrayed by men. The attempt is being welcomed across the world.
However several women had started practicing Kathakali in 1970 and 1990 and K.K. Gopalakrishnan, renowned art critic of Kerala in his research book, 'Kathakali Dance - Theatre', said that some women from foreign countries had trained for some short-term courses in Kerala on Kathakali.
Most of these performing women artists were either trained privately by Kathakali masters but this is the first time that Kalamandalam is taking in girl students for its long-term programme.
T.K. Narayanan, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala Kalamandalam told media persons that giving admission to girl students in Kalamadalam was a demand for several quarters since long and that this academic year the governing body has decided to give admission to girl students in a full-time programme at Kalamandalam.
Training at Kalamandalam from school days would expose the students to the teaching and guidance of experts and a diverse pool of teachers of the institute who have huge exposure and deep knowledge of the subject. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Kerala culture, Kathakali, Dance Culture, kathakali Tradition, Kerala Kalamandalam
New Delhi: Kerala’s quintessential art form, Kathakali, will meet its Spanish counterpart Flamenco to give a feminist twist to Mahabharata in the capital on Friday.
Titled ‘Draupadi’, the hour-long show combines techniques and aesthetics of the traditional Kerala dance-drama and Flamenco. Themed on an episode from the Mahabharata, it brings together the ideas of Madrid-based director Cesar Lorente Raton and his team comprising a ballerina along with half-a-dozen artistes.
Hosted by Kerala Tourism , the collaborative work will have renowned Spanish danseuse Bettina Castaño in the role of Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandava brothers.
Cesar, who shares nearly a decade-long relation with Kerala, has been artistically cooperating with Kerala Tourism from 2004. “I took one episode that I had seen being performed in Kathakali — and used it to express my concern about horrific crimes and abuse against women in all parts of the planet,” he said.
Cesar noted that Draupadi, in the Vyasa classic, was made into a commodity to be pawned during a gamble by her husband. “She is later humiliated in public. It shows how women were treated as objects as far back as 3,000 years ago. I chose this story, as it has a universal theme, which anyone can relate to,” he said.
Bijulal Narayana Pillai and Biju Kumar Gopalan Nair are the stage artistes from Kerala who would be performing. Accompanying them will be Sumesh Gopalan on the chenda and Rajeev Nalinakshan on the maddalam, besides Juan Gotan and Jesus Garrido on the guitar. Indian pop-star Suneeta Rao and singer Radakrishnan Nanu will be lending their voices.
The production will be staged at Kerala House at 7 PM.
Thiruvananthapuram: The Trafalgar Square in London reverberated to the beat of the ‘chenda’ drums as the fluid movements of ‘Kathakali’ dancers mesmerised more than 50,000 people gathered there to witness a Kerala Tourism-organised performance, an official release here said on Monday.
There were presentations in the ‘Mayor of London’ event in the British capital on Sunday that included a series of traditional music, dance and martial arts performances as part of promoting Kerala.
Kerala chief secretary Jiji Thomson introduced the cultural extravaganza to the audience at the function attended by Deputy Mayor of London Roger Evans.
“Kerala is a top destination on the world tourism map because of the harmony between our land and culture as seen in the beautiful backwaters, majestic hills or calm country sides in the state,” said Thomson.
“Investing in Kerala’s tourism sector is being part of the mission to save the nature and the planet as we are the world leaders in practising sustainable and responsible tourism,” said the top bureaucrat.
Britain is the biggest tourism market for Kerala with 151,497 travellers from there having visited the south Indian state last year.
The Kerala delegation also met prominent tour operators and top media persons in London to promote the ‘Visit Kerala’ campaign.
“We are confident of a major increase in foreign tourist arrivals in the state during the ‘Visit Kerala’ year and beyond,” said Kerala Tourism secretary G. Kamala Vardhana Rao.
Kerala Tourism will also participate in the influential World Trade Mart (WTM) in London, to be held from November 2 to 5, and with the who’s who of global travel and tourism industry attending.
By Akash Shukla
Based on Hinduism and charged with powerful drama, it unfolds drama, devotion, dance, and music. Kathakali does it all to create one of the most impressive forms of sacred theatre in the world.
Embracing centuries of tradition and culture, it is not just a dance-drama but a devotion act showcasing the perennial tug-of-war between good and evil.
From then to now, Kathakali continues to provide a window into the past and a sneak peek into the ancient traditions. Kathakali plays embalm these traditions and have preserved it for centuries now.
Indian tradition of story-telling has been beautifully carried forward through Kathakali as it dances and dramatises to carry forward the classic tales from one generation to the other.
Apart from drawing its inspiration from the magnificent sculptures of temples depicting gods and goddesses of Ramayana and Mahabharatha, Kathakali also draws its encouragement from the temple rituals and from the classical drama forms, namely, Koodiyattam, Kootha, and Krishnanattam.
To preserve the meaning, essence, and spirituality, Brahmin priests (Namboodiri) memorized the stories and passed them on to the next generation.
Despite the king’s prowess in the area, Namboodiris wielded a lot of power and they played a pivotal role in preserving the stories, upholding the law and developing the spirituality.
When Brahmins travelled and settled in various parts of India, the culture and classic tales went along with them to innumerable places nationwide.
Hundreds of years later, these sacred tales were performed in the temple. And, the whole community vividly experienced the life of their ancestors and their story of evolution in material and spirituality.
Kathakali and its types
Known as Sampradäyaṃ (Malayalam: സമ്പ്രദായം); there are three leading Kathakali styles that differ from each other in subtleties but clear demarcations like gestures, hand positions choreographic profile, and stress on dance than drama. Many-a-time it was the other way round and the stress was on drama than dance. Out of the lot, the three Kathakali styles are:
Kalladikkodan Sampradyam, Vettathu Sampradayam
Of late, all Kathakali styles have boiled down to the northern Kalluvazhi and southern Thekkan styles.
Northern Kalluvazhi style was majorly developed by legend Pattikkamthodi Ravunni Menon (1881-1949). It is implemented in Kerala Kalamandalam. However, this department also teaches the southern style).
Kathakali’s fame, claim and contemporary offshoots
Drawing its roots from Kathakali techniques and aesthetics and stylised and developed by legend Guru Gopinath in the mid-20th century, Kerala Natanam dances its way to existence as a part Kathakali dance form.
Many docu-features and documentaries have been shot on Kathakali artistes like Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair, Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair, Raman Pillai, Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, Kottakkal Sivaraman, Kalamandalam Gopi, and Chenganoor.
Foraying into fiction, Kathakali finds place in Malayalam short story ‘Karmen’ by NS Madhavan and space in novels like ‘Keshabharam’ by PV Sreevalsan.
If the hope for Kathakali wasn’t already far from over, Anita Nair’s novel Mistress, which is suffused with the ethos of Kathakali, adds another feather to the cap of this Lit-cultural dancing saga…