KRISHNANATTOM



A refinement of Ashtapadiattom, evolved by Manavedan, the Zamorin was Krishnanattom. The whole story of Krishna was cast into a drama-cycle which would need eight nights for serial p r o d u c t i o n . Vilwamangalam, a Krishna devotee, helped in designing the costume of Krishna. The actors in this dance drama have to conform themselves to the ballet element and mimetic expression. The narrative song is left to the musicians. Krishnanattom was created as a votive offering and it survives in that capacity in the temple of Guruvayoor where it is still performed. The dance drama is based on the text Krishna-Geetha which is in Sanskrit. Many of the characteristics of the earlier ritual folk dances such as Thiyyattom, Mudiyettu and Theyyam are seen in Krishnanattom especially in the
painting of the face in intricate patterns, and the use of masks and colourful, gorgeous costumes and head-dresses. The make-up costumes and ornaments used in Krishnanattom are almost similar to that seen in Kathakali, though in Krishnanattom some of the characters are seen using painted masks made of wood. The gestural language and abhinaya are not very well developed. More importance is given to pure dance (nritta) and the stress is always on group movements and group compositions. All the eight night plays are full of beautiful dances. In no other dance could be seen so many characters performing the same dance with the same facial expressions, eye movements, gestures, foot-work (and set to the same rhythm), with so much of co-ordination, and grace, e.g., Mullappoothutal in Rasalila (Sree Krishna with Gopies) Kaliyamardana Nritham etc.

Maddalam, elethalam and chengala are the musical instruments used