About Kanyarkali Dance
Kanyarkali Dance is a special kind of folk dance ritual performed in village temples in Chittir Taluk and Alathar of Palakkad district of Kerala.
The event is basically a part of the village’s Vishnu celebrations and usually succeeds in the Village Fair or Vela and is performed during April and May.
The dance form is usually performed at the nightfall and continues till dawn and is conducted for four nights at a stretch. In certain hamlets, it is performed only for three nights consecutively.
The dances begin every night with that particular community’s men assembling in the temples and dancing a rhythmic oblong dance called Vattakalli (Vatakalli refers to a circular dance form).
The Vattakali is followed by a myriad puraatu, which basically means farce. The purattu does not have a normal format and each individual purattu continues for about an hour.
The purattu symbolizes the social and life customs of various tribes and castes of medieval Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The Performance and Costumes
Since the purattu symbolizes a plethora of heterogenous tribes and castes, the various purattus have a variety of costumes, dance style and songs with different tempos.
Certain purattu which symbolizes warrior tribes or fierce tribes have performances resembling martial movements or stick fights whereas certain other purattus have rhythmic and slow movements.
Certain purattus are tagged with humor and symbolize a scenario wherein a long lost wife and husband have a reunion.
The Performace is specially conducted on the square stage known as pandal. The pandal is usually located affront the temple or its premises.
The stage is adorned with lighted lamps in the center and a roof backed by nine pillars. The singers take the central position in the stage and the dancers dance along the pandal’s periphery in a circular position.
The songs are mainly in Malayalam, and several purattus have songs containing heavy Tamil influence.
The instruments accompanying the dance are Chenda, Elatalam, and Chengalam. However, Maddalam accompanies Vattakali.