Over the years, Attakkalari has undertaken in-depth research into teaching methodologies and the philosophy of movement in Indian performing arts traditions. Notions of knowledge creation and sharing, transfer of aesthetic sensibilities and the process of forming gestures, body lines and movement as cultural symbols, the perception and philosophy of the body as well as the role of breath, focus and music in accentuating and augmenting the experience of movement, have come under the scope of these studies.

Some of our key research projects:


Derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘a civilizational dimension’, NAGARIKA is an Integrated Information System on Indian Physical Expressions through technology. The project compiles and categorizes movement sequences of two specific Indian movement traditions – Bharatanatyam, the classical dance form and Kalarippayattu, the martial art form from Kerala.

NAGARIKA is an endeavour to discover, document and preserve some of the rare knowledge systems in human physical expressions available in India and make that information accessible through technology to young artists and choreographers. This information is usually passed on in an exclusive context from teacher to disciple through long years of training. Attakkalari’s efforts in making it available on a DVD in an easily accessible interactive format will help young professionals in the field make use of this information to develop new movement ideas.

This second DVD of the series focuses on the Northern style of Kalarippayattu and features students and masters Hindustan Kalari (Puthiyara, Kozhikode), Choorakkody Kalari (Chelavoor, Kozhikode), C.V.N Kalari (East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram) and EPV Kalari (Kaduthuruthi, Kottayam).

The Kalarippayattu DVD is the outcome of a three year research project “Rediscovering the Kalarippayattu Spectrum” supported by Ford Foundation. For more information and to order a copy, check the microsite here

Development of a Movement Technique

This project was aimed at evolving a movement technique, generated from a study of the traditional forms of performing arts in South India, particularly the martial art form Kalarippayattu. The research for the project comprised an intensive analytical study of the structure of movement in Kalarippayattu. It consisted of detailed compilation and documentation of information on movement in Kalarippayattu, including variations in style.

Research on Teaching Methodology for Performing Arts

The main objectives of this project were to i) compile information on traditional educational practices in performing arts in Kerala ii) research on factors that have had an impact on educational practices iii) analyze the information compiled so as to identify the pedagogic, aesthetic and ethical elements that go into the making of traditional performing artists in Kerala and iv) formulate recommendations for devising a new teaching methodology for use at Attakkalari, keeping in mind the diversity of performing arts as well as of educational practices.

For more information, please contact:

Aarthi Rayapura
Manager, Communication & Development,
Photography Credits: Manikantan & Mohan Das Vadakara