Representative Image / Wikimedia Commons
The art form of Kathakali will be the focus of two infirmative events at Houston, Texas's Rice University on October 19. Kathakali is a dance form that originated in the Indian state of Kerala between the 16th and 17th centuries and is characterized by elaborate makeup and costumes, featuring a headgear and mask.
The university has invited esteemed Kathakali artist Kalamandalam Manoj Kumar along with renowned art critic V. Kaladharan for the event. The first event will feature a public lecture and demonstration highlighting the complex mudras (hand gestures) and movements of the dance form.
Kathakali has 24 basic mudras that are used to show the nine emotions of peace, awe, kindness, love, bravery, fear, disgust, hatred, and anger. According to the university's website, the second event will be a public performance that will provide a brief taste of the classical dance-theater tradition.
“Houstonians are privileged to have access to world-class practitioners of numerous Indian classical arts and dance traditions like Bharatanatyam and Kathak,” said Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan, assistant professor of English at Rice.
“But Kathakali is something we don’t often see — perhaps because unabbreviated performances that retell epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana can go on for many hours. It is a real treat to be able to bring the esteemed Kathakali artist Kalamandalam Manoj Kumar along with renowned art critic V. Kaladharan to Rice to share this tradition,” she said.
The event is being put together with support from the Chao Center for Asian Studies, the School of Humanities, and the Department of English, at Rice University. The lecture is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (local time) on October 19, while the performance will be held between 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the same day. Both events will be held at the university’s Hudspeth Auditorium. A reception will follow the performance.