Nangiar Koothu – roughly translated as “The Dance of the Nambiar Lady” – is a theatre art traditionally performed by ladies belonging to the “Nambiar”community in Kerala. However, owing to its vast popularity, even foreigners come from far to learn this venerable art.
Though it carries the misnomer of Koothu (meaning Dance), in actuality, it is a bevy of facial expressions and subtle movements conveying a story to the audience. It is accompanied by a ‘mizhavu‘ (a kind of drum) and an ‘elathalam‘ (similar to cymbals but much smaller and musical).
To a first-timer, the dance looks very slow and majestic and the subtle changes in expressions of the artiste is breathtaking. The only problem I found was that I had no clue as to what the lady was narrating (though people next to me seemed to be in the throes of it). The show went on for about an hour and a half. However, it was certainly a beautiful experience which a city-bred like me could never have hoped to have except on the idiot-box.Picture Courtesy : My Nikon Coolpix S10