Theyyam | Dance form in Kerala, Karnataka

Theyyam is a famous form of dance in Kerala and Karnataka. Theyyam follows ancient traditions and customs. The performers of Theyyam occupy an important part in Theyyam dance.This art form is also considered similar to the Kathakali dance. It is believed that through this Theyyam dance, the performers act as a mediator between the devotees and the god. It is mainly performed by males, by wearing different types of costumes. This dance is performed in some temples of Kerala, and also it would be performed during temple processions during important festival days.

There are more than 100 types of Theyyam, and during this dance, the performers would dress similar to Bhagavathas like Dhruva and Prahalada, and also would dress in the form of deities like Chamundi, Someshwari and Lord Vishnu. This type of dance was watched eagerly even by some of the British people during the British rule. At the completion of the dance, some performers would worship Lord Vamana and Mahabali as a part of their tradition.

Sometimes this dance is performed in the villages. Nowadays it is also performed in the houses as a part of worship of our forefathers.

The performers would fantastically perform the dance movements and they would express their facial expressions in a nice manner. Mostly it would be performed in an open place. The main dancer would also observe fasting, and would normally eat food only after the completion of the dance event. The dance performance is usually known as Vellattam or Thottam. This type of dance is welcomed by ancient Kerala kings, and they have given lot of gifts to the performers of Theyyam. Once the dancer dresses in Theyyam costumes, they would be considered similar to the god.

Some popular music instruments like Chenda and Melam, would be played during the Theyyam dance event. During the dance performance, it is believed that the powers of the deities are transformed into the performers of Theyyam.


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