Koodiyattam, also known as Kutiyattam locally, is a traditional art form and a folk dance in Kerala, a state in India. It is one of the oldest art form present in the whole of India and is also recognized by UNESCO as the Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The word 'Koodiyattam' refers to 'Combined acting' in Tamil and Malayalam (the official language of Tamil Nadu and Kerala). Koodiyattam is a dance form where the Sanskrit theatres come to life in a dance form; the instruments used in this type of dance form are played live with the traditional Kerala instruments.
Koodiyattam is a religious dance form where the teachings are passed down by the masters who think are sincere about learning the Koodiyattam art form. The preparation process for the Koodiyattam dance is a very crucial process as the performer is not supposed to eat or drink anything before performing the Koodiyattam dance form and has to stand after wearing the ornaments for the performance. This crucial process makes the Koodiyattam dance form even more unique.
The Koodiyattam folk dance is a dying art form as the traditional art form was performed in certain venues and was performed by certain people. There was a time when the Koodiyattam committee lacked funds for the performance and could not buy new ornaments for future performance. This is when UNESCO stepped in and helped in creating a network of Koodiyattam institutions which would help the next generation is learning the Koodiyattam art form along with the academic research in the Keralan Dance forms.