About
Kerala Kathakali Centre

Performances shown on BBC, National Geographic and Discovery Channels! Highly recommended by Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, as well as many other guidebooks! Performed internationally to standing ovation audiences and enjoyed locally in Kerala by thousands from around the world!

BACKGROUND 

The Kerala Kathakali Centre was founded in 1990 in Kochi , the oldest city in Kerala and known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea . 

The Kerala Kathakali Center's aim is to popularize and encourage the classical arts of Kerala, discover new talents, and improve the standards of training and performances by rigorous discipline and dedication. Various traditional arts and rituals are also encouraged and performed at our Centre.

HISTORY OF KATHAKALI

Elements of the art of Kathakali are found in the ancient ritual plays of Hindu temples and various dance forms that are believed to have been gradually developed in Kerala from as early as the 2nd Century until the end of the 16th Century. Many of its characteristics are very much older than its literature, as they are a continuation of older traditions, but these did not crystallize until the 17th Century when the Rajah of Kottarakkara, a small principality in central Travancore, wrote plays based on the Hindu epic "Ramayana" in sanskritized Malayam, which could be understood by ordinary people. Before this, the stories were enacted in pure Sanskrit, which was known only to the learned few.

          

 From then on, Kathakali emerged as an individual style of dance-drama into a "people's theatre" from the traditional dances of the past. The plays were performed by the Rajah's own company of actors, not only in temples and courts, but from village to village and house to house. The new art form (called Ramanattan) soon became very popular all over the Malayalam-speaking area. The feudal chieftains of Malabar (as the area was then called) began to vie with one another in their efforts to produce the best Kathakali troupes and this competition contributed to the rapid development of the art in a very short period.

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