Kutiyattam Balivadham is an eventful part of the epic Ramayana. Lord Surya’s (Sun God) charioteer Aruna who assumes the form of a woman, begets a child from Lord Indra (Lord of Heaven) called Bali, and one from Lord Surya (Sun God) called Sugriva. Bali who becomes the King of Kishkinta has a misunderstanding with Sugriva leading to sibling rivalry. Ruma, Sugriva’s wife is forced to become Bali’s consort. Sugriva, fearing Bali, takes refuge atop the Rissyamukha Mountains, where Bali cannot enter owing to a curse from the Sage Mathanga. Sugriva along with trusted ministers like Hanuman meet Sri Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and offer their help to kill the demon king Ravana and to rescue Sita, the beloved wife of Rama. In return for Sugriva’s favour, Rama helps Sugriva confront Bali in a battle and Bali is killed by Rama’s arrow.
Kutiyattam is an artistic tradition of Kerala that goes beyond 2000 years. It is the only ancient form of Sanskrit theatre in the world which has kept alive its vibrant tradition till date. A typical Kutiyattam performance would take several days, even up to 40 to complete. The present form of Kutiyattam is ascribed to Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal, a king belonging to the ancient times of Kerala.
In the beginning, Kutiyattam performances were strictly confined to Hindu temples and were performed by the members of the Chakiyar community supported by the Nambiar community and their women folk, the Nangiyars. This Sanskrit theatre owes its name to the combined performance of Chakiyars and Nangiyars. The only musical accompaniment used earlier was Mizhavu, a percussion instrument played by Nambiars. Of late, Edakka, Sankhu and Kuzhithalam are also being used, besides Mizhavu. Kutiyattam is usually performed in a Koothambalam, which is a specially designed theatre attached to major temples. Koothambalams are built according to principles laid down in Vaasthusaasthram Silparatna, the text on traditional architecture.
Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri
Kutiyattam maestro Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri stands out for his remarkable dedication, and an all-encompassing love for the art. He learnt Kutiyattam under Painkulam Rama Chakiyar at Kerala Kalamandalam. It took him ten long years to become a performer of Kutiyattam. He is the first person from a community other than the Chakiyars, to learn Kutiyattam. He is also the first candidate of institutionalized training in Kutiyattam. In 1975, Sivan Namboodiri joined Kerala Kalamandalam as a faculty of Kutiyattam. He is also working as a visiting professor at the School of Drama (University of Calicut) since 1980. Apart from teaching, Sivan Namboodiri has given many performances in India and abroad.
Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri enacts the role of Bali in Balivadham.
Margi Sathi, one of the finest exponents of Nangiarkoothu has over three decades of experience in performing the timeless art forms of Nangiarkoothu and Kutiyattam. Currently she is part of the faculty for Kutiyattam at the Kerala Kalamandalam. She had also worked as a senior faculty member of Margi, Thiruvananthapuram; a premier centre for preserving the traditional classical art forms of Kerala. Margi Sathi is also the author of an attaprakaram (stage presentation manual) for Sreeramacharitham Nangiarkoothu.
Margi Sathi dons the role of Tara in Balivadham.
Margi Sajeev Narayana Chakiyar
Margi Sajeev Narayana Chakiyar is the son of Muzhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakiyar of Pothiyil Chakiyar family. He had his training in Koothu and Kutiyattam at Margi under the Gurus Ammannur Madhava Chakiyar, Muzhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakiyar and P. K. Narayanan Nambiar. Now he is working as a teacher and performer in the Margi troupe.
Margi Sajeev Narayana Chakiyar plays the role of Sugriva in Balivadham.
Margi Rama Chakiyar
Margi Rama Chakiyar had his initial training in Kutiyattam from his uncle Ammannur Madhava Chakiyar. He later joined Margi and was trained under Muzhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakiyar and P. K. Narayanan Nambiar. He performs almost all the major roles in Kutiyattam. As a teacher and performer in the Margi troupe, Margi Rama Chakiyar has participated in several important art festivals in India and abroad.
The role of Hanuman is portrayed by Margi Rama Chakiyar.
Kalamandalam Raveendran had his training in Kutiyattam at Kalamandalam under Kalamandalam Rama Chakiyar and Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri. Later he had higher training under Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakiyar. He joined Margi Thiruvananthapuram as teacher.
Kalamandalam Raveendran performs the role of Lord Rama.
Kalamandalam Kanaka Kumar
Kalamandalam Kanaka Kumar had his training in Kutiyattam at Kerala Kalamandalam under Kalamandalam Rama Chakiyar and Kalamandalam Sivan Namboodiri. Kanaka Kumar is currently a member of the Kutiyattam faculty at Kerala Kalamandalam.
The role of Lord Lakshmana is portrayed by Kalamandalam Kanaka Kumar.
Bharatanatyam teachings and perfromance by Rama Vaidyanathan. Each part of Thiruvempavai is individually introduced, beginning with detailed explanations and teachings by the Rama Vaidyanathan. These are followed by demonstrations from the Guru and a complete performance at the end.
Dr. Neena Prasad's teachings commence with an overview of the Swarajathi, elaborating upon its various facets. The Guru then teaches the students the Ananda Bhairavi Swarajathi, individual components of each part, and elaborates on the performance's technical aspects. This class simplifies the teaching process for learners by providing a complete version of the composition and student demonstrations for better understanding.
Guru Dr Pali Chandra pays homage to Radha’s depiction of Lord Krishna’s mesmerising form in the Sancharad Adhara (Rase Harimiha), the 5th prabandh of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda in Kathak. Through Explanations, Interpretations, Teaching and Performance, she shows a range of choreographic moves inspired by her reading of Natyasastra and Abhinaya Darpana.
Let us bring to life the eternal bond between Lord Krishna and Radha through an age old classic Kanha Main Tose Haari... Learn the storytelling techniques, performance-related pointers and the nuances of this choreography using three arms of Kathak - Kavit, Thumri and Gat-bhav.
Mohniyattam artiste Guru Smitha Rajan guides the students through the concept and central theme of the Suma Sayaka Varnam, individual components of each part, and elaborates on the performance's technical aspects. This class also contains a complete performance and msuic/ audio download of the composition.
Dr. Rajashree Warrier focuses on how a student must interpret and elaborate the teachings of Abhinaya Darpana . The student witnesses hand movements, gestures, esoteric techniques, expressions, placement, and detailed revision of every essential Bharatanatyam skill required to excel in this field.
Sri Sakala Ganadhipa Palaya Mam Anisham is a beautiful composition Choreographed by Sreelakshmy Govardhanan and composed by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna. Set in Adi Tala, Arabhi Raga, each part of this composition is well explained by the teacher, and also it includes student demonstrations for better understanding.
Learn bharatanatyam composition by Rama Vaidyanathan set in Kalyani Raga and Adi tala, Saddu Madalu Bedavo Rangayya.... This padam focuses on an interaction between a gopika and Lord Krishna. The former requests the divine being to stop playing his flute at middle of the night and not to invite trouble by waking others.
Revisit the Navarasas, Nine Emotions that drive our day-to-day lives. Guru Rajashree Warrier’s original Bharatnatyam composition delves into the secrets of the human psyche. The ‘Navarasa Kauthwam’ is a dancer's exploration of the factors that influence every human's journey on Earth. The entire composition, with detailed lessons and a downloadable track, is exclusively available at NatyaSutraOnline.
Guru Dr Pali Chandra shows how the varied moods and madness of Radha in the 12th prabandh, song Pashyati Dishi Dishi (Natha Hare Jagannatha Hare), of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda can be presented in Kathak. Through Explanations, Interpretations, Teaching and Performance, she shows a range of choreographic moves, inspired by her reading of Natyasastra and Abhinaya Darpana, and also suggests improvisations .
This Kathak online class by Guru Pali Chandra introduces a new Thumri Dagar Chalat, originally written by the legendary Guru Bindadin Maharaj of the Lucknow Gharana. Thumri's individual components - Shabdarth, Vyakhyarth, Sthayi bhav and Sanchari bhav are explained in detail.
Learn Begum Akhtar's famous Ghazal Woh Jo Hum Mein Tum Mein Qarar Tha. Kathak maestro Guru Dr Pali Chandra guides students through the various layers of this composition, exploring Begum’s nuanced take on love that is mature enough to accept not being acknowledged.
This Bharatanatyam DanceLessons by Rama Vaidyanathan is subdivided into nine sections. Each part of Madhura ashtakam is individually introduced, beginning with detailed explanations by the teacher. Every word of the original verse is carefully explained. These are followed by demonstrations from the Guru and a complete performance.
The effect of the spring season on humans, Nature and divine beings were described in the Lalitha Lavanga (Viharathi Haririha), the 3rd prabandh of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda in Kathak. Through Explanations, Interpretations, Teaching and Performance, Pali Chandra shows a range of choreographic moves inspired by her reading of Natyashastra and Abhinaya Darpana.
Pushpanjali is a divine offering of flowers that is a mark of respect to the Gods, one's teachers and those who are witnessing the recital. Alarippu is a reference to the flowering bud, which utilizes every part of the artist's body. Rama Vaidyanathan guides us through its intricacies.
Dr. Neena Prasad offers detailed analysis, demonstration, and advice on how students must appropriately approach Revati Raga in this Mohiniyattam Thillana. Demonstrations followed by lectures and explanations are the format followed in this course. The different movements of the dancer in the Thillana, the adavus, korvais, and mudras, are carefully explained.