Koodiyattam, an Ancient Dance Form of Kerala. Koodiyattam is the first Indian Dance Form to be recognized by the UNESCO. Since acting is given more importance than dance, it is also called the ‘Mother of Acting’. The forms of Koodiyattam prevalent now is only about 800 years old. This is also one of the most ancient Sanskrit Dramas. It requires 41 days to play a full episode of koodiyattam. This is a visual art form that unites Sansrit drama forms and ancient acting forms.
The name Koodiyattam (Dance Together) was given to this art form either because the hero and the heroin appear on the stage together or the hero and the quipster appear together.
Main Steps in Koodiyaatam
1. Arrangement of the stage
2. Tuning of the Mizhaavu (a special drum used by Chakyar)
3. Showing of Goshti (gesters)
4. Nambiar (hero) olays the Mizhavu
5. Akkitham Chollal (Intoductary song)
7. Spraying the stage
9. Ending Song
This art form is performed at a separated space within the temple boundary called Koothambalam (Dance Temple). The stage will be decorated using Banana tree with the cluster, tender coconut leaves, filled up para(a wooden measuring cup), Ashtamangalyam (eight auspicious objects) etc.. A large lamp with multiple flames made of bronze will be kept on the stage. Only three of the flames will be lit showing presence of the three gods. Initially there will be a concert using divine instruments viz. Mizhavu, Kuzhithalam, Idakka, Kombu and Shanghu. Then enters the quipster explaining the story. Then the characters enter the stage and perform.
Koothu and Koodiyattam
Aangikam (gasters), Vaachikam (saying), Aaharam (eating) and Saathvikam (Divnity) are the four forms of dance. In koodiyattam, all these four forms of dance are mixed with percussions and musical instruments and a Sanskrit story. Koothu is another form played by a sect called Chaakyaar(male) and Nagyaar (female), respectively called Chaakyaar koothu and Nagyaar Koothu. Koodiyaattam is the union of Chakyaar and Nangyaar dancing together. There is an opinion that koodiyaattam is an advanced form of Chaakyaar Koothu.