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Ottan Thullal Dance | Indian Classical Dance

Ottan Thullal dance, is a southern dance form. The famous Malayalam poet ‘Kunchan Nampyar’ (1705-1765) is the father of this dance form. According to a legend, Kunchan Nampyar invented this new Ottan Thullal dance form as he did not get a major role in a Kathakali dance program when he was in a king’s dance troupe.

Ottan Thullal Dance

History of Ottan Thullal Dance

Otton is a story used in Malayalam poetry. It is fast paced and has a lot in common with the floating circle in Sanskrit. Tullalal dance is based on a story composed in Ottan Vritta. Poems like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Hindu mythology are the subjects of these stories. However, in the framework of such stories, there is an attempt to bring a contemporary social context and point the finger at social inconsistencies with the help of humor.

Kunchan Nampyar is said to have composed about 64 such compositions, but according to recent research, their number is estimated to be around 40 to 45. The language of the songs in Kunchan’s dance drama was that of the common man.

Kunchan had wisely abandoned the rich Sanskrit Malayalam used in many earlier dance dramas. After Kunchan Nampya, many people have written stories for this dance form. However, they do not like Kunchan’s compositions.

The dance can be performed in the temple, in the open field, in a private hall or in any convenient place. Although there are no strict rules about when to perform this dance, it is usually performed in the evening and lasts for about two hours.

The template of Ottan Thullal dance is similar to Kathakali. But it has a lot of flexibility. However, unlike Kathakali, it does not have many dancers. A single dancer plays many roles. In this sense, the dance is similar to a solo experiment.

Drums and cymbals are used in music. Also, many times a singer is also planned. This dance drama has no setting and no screen.

Ottan Thullal dance form makeup

The makeup of this dance form is as simple as Kathakali. A bright white line is drawn on the dancer’s face from cheek to chin. The part of the face in this line is painted green. Black eyebrows are more pronounced. Mascara is applied to the eyes. Lipstick is applied to the lips. Black and white lines are drawn on the forehead in place of the odor.

The head has a hemispherical crown. Its decoration is made of various pieces of glass and gold and silver. Various necklaces are worn around the dancer’s neck. There is a small crust on the chest. There are bracelets on the wrists. Foods have shoulder straps. The dancer’s clothing is knee-length and is made up of red and white pieces. The dancer’s bells are tied just below the knee.

Beginning of Ottan Thullal dance

At the beginning of the program, the deities Ganesha and Saraswati are invoked. The dancer first sings the song and then expresses the meaning through a dance performance. He can delegate the singing to another singer if he deems it necessary. If he wants to rest, he leaves the stage and comes back after a while.

The music, meanwhile, continues. Sometimes the dancer can mingle with the audience and make some speeches addressed to them. Overall the nature of this dance drama is free. There are two other types of Tullal dance. The stories related to him are composed in the narratives of ‘Shitankan’ and ‘Parayan’. Both of these stories are slow. These dance forms are not very popular.

Ottan Thullal There are not many great dancers left today. The number of dancers was limited as the mastery of dance, singing and acting was expected. Today Malabar Ramannair from Kerala is considered to be the best Ottan Thullal dancer.

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