The workshops explore how an actor tells a story through, gesture, emotion and characters.
Our Kathakali development workshops incorporate new exciting areas of study to include Kathakali into music, Kathakali into abstract performance art, creative face painting, Kathakali masks, costume conservation, Anthropology, RE, Hinduism and ritual plus more .....
FIRST DIGITAL DICTIONARY OF KATHAKALI MUDRAS [ SIGN LANGUAGE] LAUNCHED.
Since being in lockdown due to Covid Kalamandalam Vijayakumar, Kathakali actor and co-founder of the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company, created the first digital interactive Dictionary of Kathakali Mudras [sign language] in the world.
Now people can learn the Mudras [gestures] used in Kathakali to tell a story and understand what the actors are actually saying. To access the dictionary on line Free of Charge please follow this link: Kathakali Mudras
Within a few days of launching the dictionary it has been viewed all over the world bringing the language of Kathakali to thousands of people.
I must stress that the dictonary is intended as a reference and can not take the place of a teacher.
These are your comments:
A valuable educational resource. Keith Bray - UK
A very impressive use of Lockdown. An excellent film & useful dictionary for schools & beyond. You’ve taken me back 15 years working in Swanmead Community School.I will forward your message to people who may be interested. It would certainly make for interesting and constructive home learning! Paul Birbeck Ex Head Teacher of Swanmead Community School. – UK
Your email has been forwarded to family in Amritsar. Paramjit Rajput - UK
Oh my word..... amazing captivating film, thank you for sharing it with us. As for even trying to do a milli-second of what Vijaya can do, I failed miserably. He has such control .... awesome. Peter Speak. - UK
I am happy to have spent time absorbing all the wonder, knowledge and atmosphere of the new website. The dictionary is splendid and in your magic way of saying it - well Done. Loved the new website, the dictionary is spectacular. I've posted a message on the website. Congratulation on all the work Christine Tillaimuthu - Austrailia
It’s such an amazing idea!!! Bhagya Lakshmi - UK
Well done and here's hoping that this will help loads and loads of people. Lots of love and good wishes from Marilyn and Vin Harris - UK
Just had a look at all the mudras on your lovely website....such an innovative way to present this beautiful art! Congratulations! So many people will benefit from it. I can see it is lot of hard work and 'labour of love' Just wondered, after each video I saw something like attached...link to other youtube promotions...Is this how you have set it up? Lata Desai - UK
The new website is beautiful. Checked out some of the videos - is there any way the image can be made larger when viewing? Much love to you and to Vijaya! I still remember your time with us at Regent's with great fondness. Valarie Kaneko Lucas - UK
I love it! I actually have a thing for sign languages. Thank you! Hope I did it as you wished for❤️ I did “happy”, but couldn’t find the whole sentence- it was a tricky and extremely beautiful that “happy” one.. Janne Home – Norway
I have seen and learned how to say "I am happy" Thank you for this opportunity. Love and best wishes – Sue Sirit - UK
What an amazing project! As you know, I am not very clever at technology. I have clicked on to the words I AM HAPPY and played the video but I don't know what to do next. – Ann Lowe – UK
Website looks amazing! Great work. Shaili Desai – UK
I have looked at your website and how marvellous it is. You are both very clever and must have worked very hard to get it up and running. Angie Arcourt – France
What a wonderful website. I have very fond memories of your visits to our Highland village in Scotland. Derek Prescott – UK
I did it – Caroline Latter – Portugal
Yes, I found 'I am happy' ... what an amazing thing! A brilliant resource....x Bob Frith – UK
It looks like you have been very busy despite the pandemic! Your dictionary is absolutely remarkable. What a huge undertaking that must have been! Congratulations! Julia Brown – Victoria and Albert Museum – UK
St Julian's International School, Carcavelos, Portugal
I have had the pleasure of experiencing the expertise of Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar once in England, once live in Portugal and now for a third time on ZOOM.
Although this wasn't quite as special as having them in person, it was a superb workshop, breaking down how to approach Kathakali mudras, facial expression and movement.
My students responded excellently and really enjoyed themselves.
These guys are such modest and friendly people and are absolute experts in their field. Very impressed and grateful.
Caroline Latter 12th Nov 2020
Chestnut Grove Academy, Wandsworth, London
"The group enjoyed learning about the history of Kathakali and engaging with a different performance art. Students particularly enjoyed the practical elements to the workshop and most can still recite "I am sad because the strong wind destroyed the flowers" using mudras.
Some students were able to create links between their own cultural arts and Kathakali whilst considering how they could use music and movement to create a dramatic performance. It was made clear that the arts are a fundamental part of history and community. I think the idea of heritage and ownership was resonant in the workshop and the importance of cultural traditions. Students were interested in and encouraged to share their own history allowing students to make connections between their own cultural backgrounds.
In a time where we are encouraged to be divided it was a nice way for students to make connections with a different culture; finding similarities and appreciating the differences.
Lucinda Merrett - Chestnut Grove Academy - 28th March 2019
Cherry Orchard Primary School
"It [the workshop] was good because I learn`t things that I didn`t know and now I can show people who don`t know".
"It was good because it was interesting to watch and experience how Indian people dance traditionally"
"Why do you have to do weird dances - they were very interesting but they were really weird"
"I found this morning really funny and I rate it 9/10"
"I loved the dancing with VJ"
"In the morning we learned to do Indian dancing and in the afternoon we learned about different types of clothing from different places."
"It was really strange at the start but I really enjoyed learning. In the end I learned that you can speak to people through dancing"
"I really liked it and now I can know more about Indian dance and celebrations."
"Today I learned about Kathakali sign language and I really liked it because it was fun"
Cherry Orchard Primary School 15th March 2019.
The Halley Academy, London.
"Thank you so much for helping us. I really enjoyed this workshop with you guys, it was really fun. I hope you can come back next year!
"Thank you for taking the time to prepare this workshop for us. We are really thankful that you came to teach us about the history of Kathakali and Bharatanatyam. We hope you have fun doing more amazing work! And we hope that you won`t forget about us. "
"Thank you so much for bringing us back to the 4,000 year old sign language and teaching us things about Kathakali."
"Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to learn about Kathakali. I have really enjoyed it. I loved all the activities. This has made my mornings and afternoons at school even more fun and amazing. Thanks a lot."
Students from The Halley Academy - 8th March 2019
What do you think the group enjoyed most about Kathakali?
Being able to express themselves.
Did you think Kathakali will support awareness of world culture within the school?
Yes it gave them more of an insite into another culture. They will be able to share this with others.
Can you identify an aspect of the workshop that exposed how heritage is carried through th arts?
Clothing and theatre.
Do you think the workshop encouraged a greater understanding of people from different cultural backgrounds?
Yea - anything from food to clothes to how people tie their hair or make up.
Do you think the project will encourage a greater appreciation of how clothing retain our heritage?
Yes people will ask questions and that in itself will build a greater awareness.
Teacher from The Halley Academy - 8th March 2019
Chestnut Grove Academy
" I found the talk very interesting and learnt about different cultures in different countries. I also found it interesting to learn how humans developed."
" I liked learning the history of clothing because it showed how recent events were to do with clothes. I was sad because it shows that people were not allowed ot express their opinion through what they wear."
"I liked the workshop because we got to write about things that are important to us."
"I have enjoyed everything - to be honest I am very inspired. One things that could be worked on is more interaction so everyone feels involved."
"I really enjoyed this activity and gaining new knowledge and an insight into a different culture and religion. I also enjoyed the facial expressions.I really enjoyed this workshop because I learned about clothes from different places and cultures".
"I found it fun because we got to stand up and do it ourselves."
"Today i have learned some sign language that is 4,000 years old".
"I learned that early humans wore leather and fur clothing, their shoes were made from grass [like socks] and leather and were waterproof."
Chestnut Grove Academy 13th March 2019.
St Julian's International School, Carcavelos, Portugal
"Thank you so much for today. Everyone really loved it and got a good deal out of the experience. The workshop was at precisely the right level and they were able to understand and engage in breaking things down. The make-up demo and the performance were superb. Elizabeth, from St Dominic's, has sent her thanks and appreciation. Thank you and I hope we meet again."
comments from Caroline, Head of Drama and Theatre St Julian's School, Portugal Nov 2019
Hockerill College, Herts
"The breakdown of each element of the performance technique, exploring the mudras, facial expressions and movements, the chance for the students to explore different cultures and to consider how we communicate.
The workshop was well organised, energetic and excellent communication throughout the session".
Comments from students - Oct 2016
It helped me to see the importance of colour in many aspects of Indian art.
It gave me a different perspective on drama.
It showed me the way that Indian theatre works with culture and how movement is used in a religious background.
How we don`t need words to communicate with each other.
Kathakali helped me to understand that not all theatre is the same and that there are lots of ways to express feelings.
It demonstrated that complex stories can be theatrically told via non verbal means.
It showed me different styles of acting.
Ringwood Junior School, Hampshire
"It was a really enjoyable experience, very beneficial for the children to have out of school visitors, especially a male role model!" – .
Ringwood Junior School
Downlands Community School, Hassocks, Sussex
"Thanks so much for a wonderful day. The students thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope we can book you again next year. We thought that Barbara and Vijayakumar were encouraging, supportive and had high expectations of our students – thank you".
Ellie Mockler - Downlands Community School
Rose Bruford College, Sidcup, Kent
"I particularly enjoyed learning about such a different form of theatre, and thinking about how we could incorporate the techniques involved whilst always being respectful of cultural identity. As an art-form it opened my eyes to the intense work and commitment needed to be a Kathakali Actor/Make-up artist"
Nick - Rose Bruford College
Bittern Manor Primary School, Southampton 2015
"There wasn't anything that I didn't like!"
"We loved the dancing"
"It was very interesting"
"I liked how they showed us what to do and then we had a go."
"We loved having Bradley because he helped everyone."
"I loved making the mask and adding lots of colours."
"The children were able to learn many facts and then have a go which helped them to deepen their knowledge. They thoroughly enjoyed the drama, they were all very engaged.
Having the chance to make a Kathakali mask allowed them to experiment with different colours and styles and to understand the drama, dance and costumes involved even more.".