India: The Art of Kathakali

83 images Created 9 Feb 2011

Recently renamed the Kalamandalam Deemed University of Arts and Culture but better known by its original name Kerala Kalamandalam it is one of India's most prestigious performing arts schools of which the art of Kathakali is the most renowned discipline.

Founded in 1930 by poet and performer Vallathol Narayana Menon and Manakkulam Mukunda Raja who at a time of British Colonial domination feared that the support of local landlords whom held patronage over the arts often employing their own troupes would diminish decided to open the school to guarantee the continuation of the art. 80 years later and with over 500 students and 70 teachers the now turned University of 3 years still trains students in highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama, musical instruments and make-up.

Kathakali originated in the present day State of Kerala around the 17th century and whilst having been adapted and modernised throughout history remains an intricate part of Keralan culture in telling ancient Hindu epics. In the local dialect of Malayalam, the word 'Katha' means story and 'Kali' means play.
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