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                            The Mamallapuram Dance Festival is held every year

      Folk Dance


KUMMI : This is a dance performed by Girls and Ladies positioned in a circle and dance to the clapping of their hands rhythmically to a tune. This art is practiced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Kummi needs no season and reason. When girls join together it becomes festival for them and Kummi is on. Women folk have designed special songs for different occasion and they sing and dance. Poonthatti Kummi, Deepa Kummi, Kulavai Kummi, Kadir Kummi, Mulaipari Kummi are some styles of this Art. They move in circle and the hand gestures the reaping motion and the harvesting process. One of the women leads the singing, and each one of them start a new line of the song and it goes on till they are tired. In some regions, initiating variations, Men play this dance with clapping of a stick on the outer circle, and the women in the inner circle clap their hands rhythmically to synchronize it with men. Temple Festivals, Harvest Festival and any family functions will have Kummi in their entertainment agenda.

Mayil AttamMayil Aattam : It means Peacock Dance. It is a religious folk art performed in Temples dedicated Lord Murugan who has peacock as Vagnam, to please him and obtain his blessings. It is an artistic dance performed with a costume of Peacock with Real Feathers at the back and its beak in place. The walk and dance of these dancers will be similar to that of a peacock. The grace in which they perform thrills the audience. This requires an extensive practice to perform with grace. Because of this reason the interest towards this art is fading slowly. Efforts are being taken to encourage this Folk Dance. Kaalai Attam [Bull], Karadi Attam [Bear] Asli Attam [demons] are other forms of this style. Mayilattam is performed during the Arattu festival style in Thiruvambadi Sree Krishna Temple, Varkala.

Kolattam : The southern India is famous for patronizing this art and cultural activities which has transformed the social scenario of these states. Koladi, Kolkali and Kambadi Kali are the other names of this art in some regions. Kolattam is mentioned in Kanchipuram as ‘Cheivaikiyar’ which testifies its rich heritage and antiquity. Kol = Stick and Attam= Play. It is amost similar to Kummi. The only difference is that the women folk use Small colourfully painted and decorated wooden sticks instead of clapping their hands. The graceful movements, benign expressions and alluring rhythms all blend magnificently in the performances of the dancers performing this art.

Oyil Kummi : Or Oyilattam is popular in Tiruchirapalli, Salem, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore and Erode Districts. Unlike the other Kummi, this Oyil Kummi is performed by the Groups of Male members only during temple festivals. This is generally not accompanied by any musical instruments except the Ankle Bells [Salangai]. Murugan and Valli centric stories and musical episodes are played during the temple festivals. The invocation song prays to Gods and also instructs the participants to give adequate space for the movement to prevent collision with each other.

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