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Indian theatre art which includes the different forms of classical dance are primarily meant for the entertainment of the connoisseurs through the depiction of various emotive themes. The process of communication in theatre art, either through the body, speech, costumes or subtle reactions are classified under the term ‘Abhinaya’. While the Nāṭyaśāstra lays the foundation for all the different modes of abhinaya, several regional forms of art in India have developed their own styles as a function of the local tastes. The Kerala school of dance and dramaturgy is one such variant and has its own unbroken lineage of theatre art and dance.

The gestures of hand and the facial expressions form an important part of the abhinaya. The current workshop is meant to provide an insight into the understanding and application of the abhinaya in the art forms of Kerala.


The workshop aims at:

  • Giving practical experience of hand gestures and abhinaya of the Kerala school.
  • Giving a brief outline of traditional acting.
  • Providing knowledge about Hasta mudra and abhinaya.
  • A brief outline of the Rasa theory.

Topics to be Covered

  • Hand-eye co-ordination
  • Perfecting the movement pattern of hand gestures
  • The co-relation of hand gestures and their meaning
  • Mastering the Usage of eyes
  • Usage of facial muscles in acting
  • How to emote with traditional techniques
  • Usage of Prāṇa in acting
  • The Rasa theory used in acting
  • Sthāyi-bhāva and Vyabhicāri-bhāva
  • Mastering Vyabhicāri-bhāva

The workshop is organized in association with Amrita Centre for Research and Development

Venue: Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Bengaluru Campus


Resource Person

Dr. Ettumanoor P. Kannan (Kerala) is a renowned Kathakalī artist of the younger generation. He has made his mark through theatrical experimentations in Kathakalī. Dr. Kannan was trained under Kalanilayam Mohankumar, Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody and Padmasree Mani Madhava Chakyar. He is the Director of SNA Kutiyattam Kendra, Thiruvananthapuram. He has worked as Campus Director of Nila Campus, Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University. He presents lectures and demonstrations throughout the year in different parts of India and has conducted hand gesture language workshops for theatre goers.

Workshop Details

The total duration of the workshop is 12 hours – 4 hours each in three days. This is a hands-on workshop. 90% of the workshop time will be used for practical lessons.


The workshop is designed for performers of classical art forms who want to develop the skill of traditional style of acting. Practitioners of all classical art forms are welcome. Faculty members, and students of Performing Arts, Sanskrit Studies and Indology can also join. Maximum 20 participants will be allowed in the workshop.

Fee for Workshop (per person): Rs. 5,000/- (to be paid online through ACRD link)

Fee for Food and Accommodation (per person): Participants who would like to have food and accommodation on the campus will need to pay the following amount at the campus venue upon their arrival (Dr. Nibedita Banerjee can be contacted for more information):

  • Rs. 2,000/- (food and accommodation for 3 days)
  • Rs. 700/- (lunch only for 3 days)

Last Date of Registration: 25 December 2019

All are welcome. Workshop participants will be awarded a certificate.

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