This dance is performed inside a temple, around a lamp. The purpose of Bagavatha Nadanam is to worship Lord Krishna and celebrate his frolics with the Gopikas. This is performed during the festivals of Rama Navami and Gokilashtami.
Bommalattam Or Puppet Show
Puppet shows are held in every village in India during festivals and fairs. Even in Tamil Nadu they are famous and different kinds of puppets are used for this show made of cloth, wood, leather, etc. They are manipulated through strings or wires. The persons stand behind a screen and the puppets are held in front. The stories enacted in the puppet shows are from Puranas, epics and folklore.
Girls dressed as peacocks resplendent with peacock feathers and a glittering headdress complete with a beak perform Mayil Attam in the villages during village get-togethers.
Other similar dances are "Kaalai Attam" (dressed as a bull), "Karadi Attam" (dressed as a bear), "Aali Aattam" (dressed as a demon) and "Vedala Aattam" is performed wearing a mask depicting demons.
Oyil means beauty, hence Oyilattam is called 'Dance of Beauty', which is performed near the temples or public places in the morning and evening hours. Oyilattam is prevalent in the south districts and Kongu Nadu in particular. Traditionally, only men performed this dance but ten years ago women also began to participate. Styles of Oyilattam differ from place to place.
Intricate steps are used in martial arts, such as Silambattam. This dance is performed with rhythmic steps and musical instruments first with few people standing in a row. Then gradually the row will become longer as the new comers and guests all join and dance along as they like. The dancers wear ankle-bells. Normally, the dance is performed with the accomplishment of musical instruments and songs.
Snake Dance is another famous rural dance form, which arises from the popularity of the snake as a protective divinity, safeguarding the health and happiness of the rural folk. Young girls dressed in a tight-fighting costume designed like the snakeskin usually perform snake dance. The dancer simulates the movements of the snake, writhing and creeping, at times making quick biting movements with head and hands. The raised hands held together look like the hood of a snake.
Urummi Attam is a temple art form found only in selected villages in a few districts of Tamil Nadu. This dance is especially performed in Amman temples during the month of 'Adi'. The whirring sound of 'Urumi' providing the melody and the beat of the 'Thappu' providing the rhythm, accompany the dance sequence.
Ottan Koothu is a tribal art form of 'Ottas', a small group of tribals of Tamil Nadu. It is performed by both men and women folk during festive occasions to depict episodes from epics and other ancient stories.
Kamandi Or Kaman Pandigai
Kamandi or Kaman Pandigai is a dance form, which is performed to commemorate the Puranic event when Shiva burned 'Manmada' the God of Love to ashes in anger. The people in the village separate themselves into two parties as 'Erintha Katchi' and 'Eriyatha Katchi' and a heated debate ensues. Kaman and Rati, his consort, are main characters.
Puli Attam is performed during temple festivals, which draws large crowds. This folkdance form is performed by young men with painted bodies in colours yellow and black, complete with fangs, head gear with ears, paws with claws and long tail, simulating the prancing, pouncing tiger in every ferocious move amidst wildly beating drums. Usually a goat is brought along with the dancers who pretend to pounce on it and kill it.
Kali Attam is also known as "Koladi", "Kolkali", "Kambadi Kali" and "Kolaattam". Kali means joy or fun and games. In this dance form sticks of one-foot length are held in each hand and beaten to make a sharp, rasping sound as the dance proceeds with unique steps, twisting and turning.
Both men and women participate in this dance, which is performed during festivals, auspicious days and weddings. The special qualities required to perform this dance are quickness, alertness, while being careful no to hurt the other dancers by the swinging 'Kol'. No special dress or make up is required for this dance.
Sevai Attam is performed by village folk belonging especially to Nataka community; it is a dance form devoted to 'Thirumal' (Maha Vishnu). In earlier days this was performed at the rear of a chariot procession either of a king or a deity.
Dancers form a group, with one of them acting the buffoon, dance to the music of percussion instrument like 'Urumi'. The classical songs and the measured steps with graceful movements are the special features of Sevai Attam. In the works of Sangam this had been known as 'Pinther Kuruvai'.