Guru Gopinath the accomplished dancer of Kathakali dance form is the father of Kerala Natanam. He evolved this dance form from Kathakali which is an epical form of Indian dance.
Kathakali dance drama depicts stories from Hindu mythology and uses Sanskrit as the medium. During the early period, Kathakali dance was confined to the walls of Palaces mansions and temples in Kerala. It was the monopoly of the Maharajas as well as of the Brahmins only who were identified as educated enough to experience the dance and to comprehend the significance of the form solely. But it was Guru Gopinath who felt the requirement of a change and decided to evolve Kathakali dance form to give it the deserving audience. He wanted the society to experience this traditional dance form and in order to make a new dance form, he gives a little change to the Kathakali frame and theme. In short, he made it more innovative by adding diverse mudras and facial expressions from Mohiniyattom and Koodiyattom dance styles. This entirely new dance form is later known as Kathakali Natanam and gradually renamed as Kerala Natanam.
Kerala Natanam dance form could be easily enjoyed by common people having no formal training or appropriate knowledge of dance drama. Ordinary public without any knowledge of classical dance would thoroughly enjoy this dance form as the costumes of the characters are selected in such a style that people could easily understand the storyline of the drama. The language used in the dance drama is very simple and audience-friendly.
Popular Carnatic music compositions are used in Kerala Natanam. This dance form is quite a different from Mohiniyattom and Kathakali as in this form variety of musical instruments are used to enhance its presentation.
Evolving from Kathakali Kerala Natanam is a dance form for a new generation. It is quite popular among common people due to its easy language and audience-friendly costumes.
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