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This section on folk dances of south India contains information on south Indian folk dances and various folk dance forms of south India.


Folk Dances of South India

Padayani (Kerala)
Padayani is one of the most colorful and popular dances of Southern Kerala. Padayani is associated with the festival of certain temples, called Padayani or Paddeni. Such temples are in Alleppey, Quilon, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts. The main Kolams (huge masks) displayed in Padayani are Bhairavi (Kali), Kalan (god of death), Yakshi (fairy) and Pakshi (bird).

Padayani involves a series of divine and semi divine imitation, putting Kolams of different shapes and colors. In the performance of Padayani, dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists play an important role. The actors or dancers wear Kolams that are huge headgears, with many projections and devices and a mask for the face or a chest piece to cover the breast and abdomen of the performer.

Kummi (Tamil Nadu)
Kummi is a popular folk dance of Tamil Nadu. Kummi dance is performed by tribal women during festivals. Kummi is a simple folk dance where dancers form circles and clap in rhythmic way.

Kolattam
'Kollattam' or the stick dance is one of the most popular dances of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Kolattam is derived from Kol (a small stick) and Attam (play). It is also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu. Kolattam dance is a combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music and is performed during local village festivals. Kolattam is known by different names in different states of India. The Kolattam group consists of dancers in the range of 8 to 40. The stick, used in the Kolattam dance, provides the main rhythm.

Perini
The Perini Thandavam is a male dance of the warriors. As a part of tradition, the warriors performed this dominant dance in front of the idol of Nataraja or Lord Shiva, before leaving for the battlefield. This is popular in some parts of Andhra Pradesh state. In earlier times the rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty patronized this form of dance. The Perini dance is performed to the accompaniment of the beat of the drums.

Thapetta Gullu (Andhra Pradesh)
Thapetta Gullu is a folk dance form of Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh. In the Thapetta Gullu dance more than ten persons participate. The participants or performers sing songs in the praise of local goddess. While performing the Thapetta Gullu dance, the dancers use drums, hanging around their necks. The dancers wear tinkling bells around their waist.