The rich repertoire of Kerala’s performing art forms is one of the most coherent evidence of its affluent culture and tradition. These performing art forms of Kerala include dance, music and martial art forms which have been significant feature of ceremonies, celebrations, rituals and also entertainment in Kerala. These art forms reflect the traditional life, customs and cultural heritage of the region.The elaborate performing art scene of Kerala is rewarded recently by UNESCO as one of its theatre forms- Koodiyattom, is designated as one of the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. Such an exclusive recognition shows the captivating fervour and thrill with which these art forms have managed to inspire and bedazzle generations.Some of the famous performing art forms of Kerala include:Kathakali – A theatrical form of dance, Kathakali is mainly performed during religious events and festivals. Known for its elaborate costumes and performances, Kathakali is a spectacular art of story-telling, based on the religious texts. This is a form of dance drama earlier performed only in the temples and palaces of Kings. From the detailing of costumes to the finesse of emotions expressed in this dance form is essential to emote the role of Gods. Costumes and make-up for Kathakali are elaborate and takes hours to finally complete and thus enhances the total impact of the play to a greater degree.Koodiyattom: A form of Sanskrit theatre, Koodiyattom is performed in Sanskrit language in Hindu temples. This 2000 year old form of dance is recently recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity for its magnificent cultural expression. Shrouded with hidden meanings of its metaphors and delicate impressions, Koodiyattom has been one of the hallmarks representing Sanskrit literature.Music of Kerala – Kerala has diverse styles of folk and tribal music and Carnatic music mainly dominates the region’s musical history. People of Kerala takes music very seriously and music is much more than a hobby it is rather considered as a method of worshipping. Its sanctity is still preserved in the form of rich tradition of music of Kerala. With the developments in music various forms emerged that includes classical music, popular music and Chenda Melam which is a religious form of music which comprises of 150 musicians and the ensemble can last up to four hours.Kalarippayattu – An ancient form of martial art, Kalarippayattu is one of the oldest in the world. This Dravidian art form of fighting is practised with a system of kicks, strikes, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and also healing methods. The forms of Kalarippayattu differ slightly as per their geographic presence. There is Northern, Southern and Central style of Kalarippayattu. While it’s northern form pays emphasis on the usage of weapons, its southern form is all about bare hands techniques to combat with opponent and the central form mixes best of both techniques including hand and weapons.These rich performing art forms of Kerala have contributed immensely in creating culture of Kerala a vibrant entity celebrated through generations.
Children have an almost non- stop desire to be creative. They live in a mental space that is constantly curious, expressive, physical, at play, and engaged. The importance of nurturing this creativity is well documented and has amazing benefits. A child who is exposed to and involved in the performing arts often develops a greater capacity for learning. Through the arts, children are encouraged to depend on themselves creatively, so they learn how to solve problems better, while developing the ability to rely on themselves to bring new ideas into the world. They learn to listen to their own compass; speak from their souls.This is not to say that all children should become professional performers. It simply means when children participate in the performing arts they become better equipped to look at the world from many different vantage points. The arts also innately provide a spiritual component. When a child engages in performing arts activities they are stripped of pretenses and they speak from the heart.Then, there are the academic benefits. The following is from Americans for the Arts:
Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poemAdd to these the benefits to brain development and you have a recipe for children who grow up to give the world amazing gifts.The following is a list I have put together to give you a little nudge in the direction of engaging your child in the performing arts:10 Tips to Nurture Your Creative Child:
Encourage play acting and dress up; this stimulates a child’s imagination.
Create a special “acting out” area in your home. Build a mini-stage, hang curtains from ceiling hooks, throw some dress-up clothes in a costume chest and voila; instant theatre for your little thespians.
Encourage your child(ren) to compose or make up their own songs and rhymes.
Put on some beautiful instrumental music; classical or jazz, grab crayons or paints, some craft paper and have your child “draw what they hear”. This allows them to become lost in the music and makeup their own story. Then ask them what they heard. This will help them develop their story telling ability.
Encourage repetition. Kids love to find a song or something they find funny and do it again and again and again. Embrace this quality.
Read every day to your children. A comprehensive use of language skills and word play are critical for all children, including the budding artist, and one gets this from reading consistently.
When reading rhymes, poetry, Dr. Seuss, A.A. Milne, etc. to your child, emphasize the rhythms. Rhyming books, stories, poetry are inherently musical which helps to develop a child’s “ear” for language.
Our voices are capable of a myriad of sounds. When reading to your children use different vocal qualities and dialects. Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be perfect! Kid’s just love it when you act out and use different voices for different characters.
Take your time when you read to your children. When you immerse yourself in a story, they will follow suit.
Stop at a cliff hanger when reading narrative so they can’t wait to hear the next installment.I sure hope this helps to inspire and encourage you to get your child involved in the performing arts. My own experience with the arts has enriched my life beyond measure and I believe that is because my mother started me with an appreciation of books, classical music, and the performing arts at a very young age. Thanks Mom!