In Padayani, elements of theatre dominate and it has ritualistic overtones as it is danced before Devi temples, especially in the districts of Alleppey and Quilon. The performers wear highly stylized masks and towering headgears made out of arecanut fronds and painted with indigenous colors. The dancers wearing appropriate masks, headgears, and costumes represent gods, goddesses, demons, etc. The gods and goddesses mainly represented are : Bhadrakali, Bhairavan, and Kalan (the god of death). About a dozen dancers are needed for the performance. There is no age restriction for participating in the dance. Thappu, an indigenous musical instrument, provides the accompanying music. Because of the dominant theatrical elements Padayam may come under the category of dance-drama.
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