Tamilnadu Traditional Dance

This is the information on Tamilnadu traditional music and dance forms. The popular art forms include Karagaattam kaavadi Aatam which is dedicated to lord muruga, Poikkal Kudirai an artificial horse dance, Bommalaattam, Therukoothu a street drama, Silambattam dance a with stick, Villu paattu and snake dance.

Great Indian tradition is the deeply rooted in the soil of Tamilnadu. The great varieties of arts and skills can be found in the people of Tamilnadu from many generations. The presentation of folk dances of Tamilnadu represents the very rich culture of the state. The purity and originality in Tamil music and dance is appreciated from everyone in the world. This is the state which has maintained the ancient values of cultural India. Here are some types of music and dances from this beautiful state


It is the most famous and loved folk dance of Tamilnadu. The main attraction of this style of dance is the dancer balances the pots on head and dances on the music. The pots on the head of the dancer are decorated with flowers and on the top of the pot paper parrot is set. When the dancer moves on the music for dance steps, the paper parrot also moves along. This dance form is specially arranged to please water gods like rain goddess Mari Amman and river goddess Gangai Amman. This dance form is distributed into two styles- Aatta Karagam and Sakthi Karagam. Both male and female dancers participate in the dance performances and variety of dance steps like dancing on a rolling block of wood, moving on the ladder, putting thread into the needle by leaning backwards are performed to attract the visitors.

Kaavadi Aatam

Kaavadi is the long stick which is balanced on the shoulders and offerings for god are tied on the both sides of the stick. In ancient era, people used to travel to the temples along with the kaavadi on the shoulder and on the way they use to sing and dance for entertainment. This practice is continued through the dance form of Kaavadi Aatam. Special songs are sung and special dance is arranged with the kaavadi made of bamboo strips and light pole on the shoulders.

Poikkal Kudirai Attam

It is a dance form where a dummy horse is used. Dancer puts the dummy horse on hips and dances along with it. It is a very skilful form of dancing. The dummy horse is light in weight and the cloth on the horse covers the legs of the dancer. The dancer puts on the wooden legs which look like horse hooves and carries a sword in hand.

Bommalaattam or Puppetry

The street show called Bommalaattam or Puppetry is slowing vanishing but you can see these types of puppet shows are arranged in villages of Tamilnadu still. Puppets are tied through strings or wires and the artists hide behind the screen. Through the puppet show various stories and epics are revealed in front of people. People in village side gather in an open ground in the evening to view these types of traditional entertainment.


This dance form is found in villages on the occasion of Aadi and Panguni. This form of dancing is performed on the streets openly. Costumes and make up carry a very important role in this dance form. Only male dancers perform this dance and they play the role of female dancers too. Through this dance form many types of stories, songs and dialogues are performed to entertain people. These stories are mainly based on Indian mythology.


This ancient dance form is based on martial art. You can find various techniques of self defending performances through this dance style. This is not only a dance but a defensive stunt technique.

Villu paattu

It is another popular folk dance style, which is the combination of rural and urban culture which gives a great entertainment and refreshment for the visitors. The musical instrument used in this form of music is villu or bow fixed with bells. This villu is played musically and the bells too jingle sweetly along with it. The performer plays various songs by narrating small stories.

Snake dance

It is also a very popular dance form of Tamilnadu. Young girls wear dress like snakeskin which is tight fitting and then they perform snake dances. The all movements of snakes are performed by the girls like writhing and creeping or quick biting movements. The art of snake dance performance is comparatively reduced but still you can see this in village side road shows.


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