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Kathakali eye dancer. Source: Grigory Kubatyan / Adobe Stock.

Eye Dancing and India’s Ancient Art of Kathakali (Video)

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Kathakali, the captivating traditional Indian dance originating from Kerala, unveils a mesmerizing world where stories from Hindu epics come alive. This art form transcends mere movements and steps; it embodies a profound narrative through intricate costumes, vibrant makeup, and masterful gestures. To embody these sagas, artists devote around 12 years to master Kathakali's choreography and gestures, embodying the essence of characters like never before.

However, the true essence of Kathakali lies within the eyes—a captivating dance of emotions. Going beyond linguistic boundaries, the dancers wield their eyes as potent tools of expression. Through delicate and deliberate eye movements, they communicate emotions ranging from ecstasy to despair, passion to serenity. This technique, known as "eye dancing," represents the intricacy and depth of the art form. As one delves into the world of Kathakali, they embark on a journey of cultural richness and artistic dedication. It showcases the amalgamation of storytelling, dance, and theater, making it a wonderful reminder of India's rich cultural heritage.

Top image: Kathakali eye dancer. Source: Grigory Kubatyan / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

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I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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