States Tamil Nadu Folk Dance

Folk Dance in Tamilnadu

Dance or Nadagam forms an integral part of the culture of Tamil Nadu, with its origin stemming from the ancient dance-drama form called Therukoothu. Traditional folk dances of Tamil Nadu include several individual and group forms, some of which are now being practiced not only for their heritage but also for their entertainment quotient. The tribal dances of Tamil Nadu include dances from the simplest form of a puppet show to the Poikkal Kuthirai Attam.

Many of the dance forms practiced are woven around a story, intended to entertain the audience or to pay homage to a deity. Dancers dress in animal costumes for many dances in Tamil Nadu, showing the strong connection between the nature and the Gods. They dress like a peacock for Mayil Attam , as a horse while performing Poikkal Kuthirai, as a bull in Kaalai Attam, snake like dress for Paampu Attam and as a bear in Karadi Attam.

Popular Folk Dance of Tamil Nadu

  • Mayil Attam

    Women dancers adorned with peacock feathers, glittering headdress, and a beak perform this dance to the tune of folk music. They pay homage to Lord Muruga by dressing as peacocks.

  • Kummi

    This classical dance form has women standing in a circle, clapping their hands to add beats. It is performed at all religious ceremonies, family functions, and harvest festivals like Pongal.

  • Kai Silambu Attam

    Performed in temples during Navratri or Amman festivals, the dancers hold anklets or silambu to give music, and dance to please the female deities, especially goddess Kali through their dance.

  • Bharatnatyam

    A dance performed only by women, Bharatnatyam depicts religious themes and spiritual ideas of South India. Among the oldest dance forms of India, it includes dance as well as drama.

  • Karakattam

    Rain goddess Mariamman is praised through this ancient folk dance of Tamil Nadu. The Aatta Karakam form of this dance has decorated pots on the dancers’ heads and Sakthi Karakam is performed as a religious offering.

  • Bhagavatha Nandanam

    The life and glory of Lord Vishnu in his various avatars is depicted through this dance drama. It is performed at Narasimha Jayanthi and also during Gokulastami or Ramnavami.

  • Oyilattam

    Dancers perform this dance to narrate the mythological stories of Murugan and Valli or Lord during temple festivals. The only musical instrument involved is a set of bells worn around the anklets of dancers.

  • Kavadi Attam

    Performed only by men, this dance involves balancing a Purasai or Teak wood pole with pots of milk or coconut water fixed on either end. It is a religious dance worshipping Lord Murugan.

  • Karagam

    The villagers perform this dance to honor the rain goddess Mariamman and the river goddess Gangaiamman. The folk music used in this dance is given by drums and long pipes.

  • Kolaattam

    This dance is performed by women holding two sticks, which are beaten to make a rhythmic sound. Pinnal Kolattam involves making lace patterns using ropes. It is performed during Deepavali cultural holidays for ten days.

  • Kuravanji

    A blend of folk and classical dance, Kuravanji used to be performed by Devadasis in temples. With Devadasis being denied entry in temples, this dance comprising of love ballads is receding to shadows.

  • Nondi Natakam

    This folk play portrays the experiences of a one-legged thief, from his falling in love to obtaining salvation through devotion to God. Dating back to the seventeenth century, it uses simple language and endearing music.

  • Pavai Koothu

    Deerskin puppets perform this dance while an idakka drummer and a singer provide regional folk melodies. This dance spread over 21 days, stages all the episodes of the Kamba Ramayana in Tamil.

  • Bommalattam

    Characterised by puppet shows, Bommalattam has puppets made of cloth, wood, and leather etc. Stories from Puranas, epics, and folklore are enacted in an entertaining mode for kids as well as adults.

Tamil Nadu Travel Information at a Glance

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