The Dance of the Nambiar Lady

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).

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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

11 thoughts on “The Dance of the Nambiar Lady

  1. Not just the expressions, even the outfits are amazing.. I like all these art forms for the simple reason that these are the places where a fuller rounded normal woman is appreciated.

    • You are so right Runaway Bride. But you’d be surprised if you saw many of these women in person – most of them are so thin to the point of being almost size zero.
      Maybe the dance keeps them very toned.

  2. Well, here I am through my own “idiot-box,” but still loving the chance to view the pictures and read your story. Every time I visit your blog I find out something new. Thanks for the peek into parts of this world I’ve never seen!

    • Hey! Thanks a Lot. That is my very first award in the blogging community and I will always cherish it as my FIRST. Going to check out the link now 🙂

  3. Hey me from kerala… But well never ever heard of this one… something to look out for!

    • Thanks for stopping by my blog Meena….and there are so many of these folk dances out there. If you can find a Margi theatre near you, you can find out all about these dances.

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