Theyyam Dancers of Kannur, Kerala

Kerala is the origin of Theyyam, a traditional dance, performed in glorification of Hindu deities. A Theyyam dancer invokes the Gods before he starts dancing, and enacts their actions and deeds during the dance. The dancers are dedicated to their craft and undertake great penance to perform. Most of the dances do not not have an entry fee–they are open to all. The performances often go on all night, and fire is regularly used for lighting, impact and as part of the performance.

Theyyam dancer performing a scene from the Mahabharat
Fire is used as a prop in the performance, which happens at night
Theyyam often involves fast, thrilling movements which rivet the audience
A Theyyam artist performs with stilts
Villagers seek advice of a Theyyam artist, who is considered to embody the deity they represent

Another photo story, explaining the performance, was written by the photographer here.

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