Ottamthullal Dance – Empowering Spirit of Kerala State

Ottamthullal Dance of Kerala

Ottamthullal is a form of performing arts in the state of Kerala, India. The legendary Malayalam poet Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar created this dance form in the 18th century. It is a solo performance that combines dance and stories. The stories are based on mythology. This dance also communicates through gestures and expressions. The dance is also called the Ottana Thullal dance.

A Brief History Of Ottamthullal Dance

This very beautiful performance took place in the 18th century. Playing an unexpected role in the Chakyar Koothu performance, Kuncchan Nambiar fell asleep in the middle of the performance, teasing the Chakyars. Humble Nambiar has promised to find another art form for Chakyar kooth, while also finding the Ottamthullal show that mocks the balance of politics and regional wonder.

If we talk about the meaning of the Thullal dance, in Mahabharata Bhima’s character is depicted as naive. Higher castes, including Brahmans, were also not spared. In this story, Bhima saw the rare flower Kallyana Sougandhikam and had a long talk with their brother Hanuman. If we talk about the meaning of the Thullal dance, in Mahabharata Bhima’s character is depicted as naive. Higher castes, including Brahmans, were also not spared.
In this story, Bhima saw the rare flower Kallyana Sougandhikam and had a long talk with their brother Hanuman.

Ottamthullal types

Ottamthullal dance is of three types –
The exact interpretation of the Seethankan, Parayan, and Ottan designations is not clear, but the difference in styles is mainly related to the meter of the poetry, the place of singing, the costume, and the decoration of the performer.

Dance forms and elements of Ottamthullal

Ottamthullal dance For centuries, Ottamthullal has (mostly) been a single actor who wears green-yellow make-up and colorful costumes and recites Thullal lyrics (dance songs) while acting and dancing himself. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once remarked that Ottamthullal is a “poor man’s kathakali”. The art form has recently found its practitioners among women as well and is occasionally staged as a group dance form where each artist represents a character in a story play. Ottamthullal has a very satirical touch. Actor Ottamthullal is free to improvise and join the fun. The instruments used for Ottamthullal are cymbals and Maddalam.

Conclusion of Ottamthullal Dance

Ottamthulal is a unique and fascinating dance in Kerala that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a form of protest through art used to bring attention to various social and political issues. The dance form has its own unique elements such as humor, music, and irony. It is a testament to Kerala’s rich heritage and also a form of entertainment and commentary.

FAQ- Ottamthullal Dance of Kerala

Q1: What is Ottamthullal Dance ?

A1: Ottamthullal dance is a traditional folk dance form that originated in the state of Kerala, India. It is a solo performance art characterized by its unique combination of dance, music, satire, and storytelling.

Q2: What are the key features of Ottamthullal?

A2: Ottamthullal features a performer, known as the Ottanthullal artist, who wears a colorful costume and elaborate makeup. The dance is accompanied by music, rhythmic footwork, and expressive hand gestures, while the performer narrates stories or social themes with humor and satire.

Q3: What is the cultural significance of Ottamthullal?

A3: Ottamthullal holds cultural significance as it is a form of social commentary and entertainment. It has been traditionally performed during temple festivals, cultural events, and social gatherings, providing a platform for the artist to convey messages and entertain the audience.

Q4: How is Ottamthullal performed?

A4: Ottamthullal dance is typically performed solo by a male artist, who wears a unique costume called the thullal costume. The performer engages in rhythmic movements, facial expressions, and gestures while reciting the verses and stories in a lively and humorous manner.

Q5: What are the themes of Ottamthullal performances?

A5: Ottamthullal dance performances often revolve around social issues, mythology, legends, and everyday life situations. The artist uses satire and humor to critique societal norms, superstitions, and other relevant topics, making it an engaging and entertaining experience for the audience.

Q6: Can anyone learn and perform Ottamthullal?

A6: Yes, Ottamthullal dance can be learned and performed by individuals interested in the art form. There are training programs, workshops, and academies in Kerala that offer lessons on the dance techniques, storytelling, and performance aspects of Ottamthullal dance.

Q7: Where can one witness Ottamthullal performances?

A7: Ottamthullal dance performances can be witnessed during temple festivals, cultural events, and traditional art festivals held in various parts of Kerala. These events often feature Ottamthullal as a prominent cultural and entertainment attraction.

Q8: What are the traditional musical instruments used in Ottamthullal?

A8: Ottamthullal dance is accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as the mridangam (a double-headed drum), cymbals, and ilathalam (cymbals made of bronze). The music and rhythm enhance the overall performance and create a lively atmosphere.

Q9: How does Ottamthullal contribute to the preservation of Kerala’s cultural heritage?

A9: Ottamthullal dance plays a vital role in preserving and promoting Kerala’s cultural heritage. Through its performances, it keeps alive the traditions, storytelling techniques, and social commentaries of the region, ensuring their continuity and appreciation by future generations.

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