To a crescendo of cymbals and beating drums, the demon’s facial muscles quiver. His face is painted bright green. Long silver fingernails protrude from his free hand; in the other he brandishes a sword. As far as classic Indian dance drama goes, it doesn’t get any brighter than Kathakali, which sees actors splash on multicoloured makeup and dress in elaborate costumes. They wear long, flowing dresses that push out like lampshades and don rainbow-coloured hats shaped like saucers

I’ve come to Kerala to experience traditions that are hundreds — and in some cases thousands — of years old. I’m intrigued to see how these traditions fit into the contemporary culture of this slender, beautiful state reclining along the western edge of the Arabian Sea.

Kathakali originated here in the 17th century and its popularity seems undiminished today. There is a host of venues in the coastal town of Kochi, Kerala’s commercial hub, and I’ve managed to score a front-row seat for this evening’s performance. The stage is small, just big enough for a drummer and a cymbal player as well as the two dancers who play the roles of demon and princess. The princess is trying to lure the demon into a trap by seducing him — and it seems to be working.

Then, the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from WellBeing

WellBeing1 min read
WellBeing Gives Space To The Creative Souls In Our Community
Lauren Farrugia T: +61 408 299 694 E: lauren.f21@hotmail.com W: instagram.com/lauren.farrugia Drawing has always been something I’ve loved doing before I could fully comprehend and appreciate why that was. Drawing is my source of meditation where tim
WellBeing3 min readFood & Wine
Egg Hoppers for Breakfast
By nature, human beings are creatures of habit. We wake up at the same time, eat the same breakfast every day, worry about the same things, have similar thoughts, go to the same takeaway place for lunch, take the regular commute home, eat meat and th
WellBeing8 min read
Rebuilding Biodiversity
Biological diversity (often shortened to biodiversity) is a term that came into widespread use during the 1980s but is based on far earlier groundwork carried out in the 18th century by naturalist Carolus Linnaeus. Biodiversity is greater in tropical