Female contribution for the development of dance
In most of the classical and the Folk dances, females play the
dominant role. Yet in some of the folk dances and in the classical
dances the females and the males play an equal role.
For instance in the oriental classical dance forms such as North
Indian classical dance, Kathak, and the East Indian classical dance
Manipuri, Sri Lankan classical dance Kandyan dance, and some of the Sri
Lankan folk dances the males and females play the equal role. Similarly
even in the Russian classical ballets, Western dances, Red Indian
dances, and South East Asian dances, males and females play equal role.
In some dances earlier the males dominated the scene but now the
females play an important role, such could be seen in the Indian
classical dances such as in the Odissi, and Kuchupidi. Meanwhile Mohini
Aatam is only practised by the females alone, and Kathakali is still
practised by the males only.
In almost all the Indian classical and Indian Folk dances the females
play the important role in the cultural life of the Indian masses. In
any country culture reveals the pattern of life style, the customs and
the traditions relating to regional practices, religious practices, and
historical background of the society.
Earlier practically the females were the dominating figures in the
field of fine arts, specially in the field of dance, music, sculptures,
and paintings. From the very beginning the female temple dancers and
female court dancers enjoyed prestigious positions in society. Earlier
temple dancers were called Devar Adiyarkal, or Devadasis or Sathirkaaris
In Vaishnava temples the dancers were called as Sri Vaishnava Manikam.
The females contributed their contributions to the dance in different
forms. Their contribution mainly depicted in the temple mandapa
sculptures, temple pillar sculptures, and temple gopura sculptures, even
the dancing female figures were depicted in the general architectural
Similarly even in the paintings, we could see the female contribution
to the dance, mainly in the temple wall and roof paintings, temple
pillar paintings dance hall curtain paintings, and in the stage
decoration cut-out paintings. Even the names and the contribution of the
female dancers could be seen in the evidence of several inscriptions.
This could be seen in the copper plate inscriptions, and stone plate
These inscriptions describe the names of numerous female dancers and
their awards, awarded to the female dancers, the titles conferred upon
them and the details of the awards and the titles were well defined.
Even earlier, as well as today, in the field of classical and folk
dances, the most attractive and the most out-standing performing
artistes are females. Even the decorations adopted by the female dancers
such as hair dressing, and facial makeup, are more elaborate than the
The female dancers wear different variety, and different designed
costumes, than the male performers.
Certain classical items are only performed by the female dancers,
such as Meenakshi Talaadu, Andal Thirukalyanam, and Kurathi.They adopt
the costumes, make-up, and hair dressing, according to the needs of the
role of the selective dances.
The female folk dancers are generally called koothukaris or Koothier
in Tamil, and by different names in different states. The colourful
glittering costumes are selected by the females, simple beautiful
make-up is always adopted by the female folk dancers, and majority of
the female dancers wear colourful shawls over the heads.
Most of these dancers, dance with decorated sticks or with decorated
pots, or holding the decorated shawls in the hands, or holding lamps in
the hands. The folk dances are mainly performed by groups, with mixed
and variety of colourful costumes. Some folk dances are only performed
by the female dancers, and some are performed by the females and males
together, and some are performed by the males alone.
In both classical and folk dances, beautiful, graceful movements,
beautiful stands, curving, and bending positions, could be seen more
among the female dancers, than in the male dancers.
The contribution and the role of the female dancers in the practical
dance field, as well as in the dance research field, are much better
than that of the male members of the dance society.