The Dhemali of Assam is not really a drum dance, but a preliminary (poorvaranga) of the traditional theatre known as Ankianat or Bhawana. Before the play begins the Dhemali is performed. There are various kinds of Dhemali. The Chabini Dhemali is a kind of drum dance, somewhat like Pung Cholam of Manipur, but having much subdued dancing. The drum played is called Khol and almost similar to the Pung of Manipur. When a large number of drummer-dancers, with all white dress, perform a Dhemali, especially in a moonlit night, it presents a sight that is as impressive as aesthetically satisfying.
The frame drum dance of Kerala, called Tappumelakkali is performed by communities, such as, Vettuvar, Ezhava, Parayan, and Cherumakkal. In this dance two kinds of drums are played : Tappu, the flame drum , and Chenda, a cylindrical drum with two faces but played on one face with lean sticks by slinging it vertically from the neck. Generally, the number of Tappus is three times that of the Chendas. Usually, the group consists of four Chendas and twelve Tappus. The frame drum is played with a short but thick stick.
In Tamil Nadu the frame drum is called Tappettai. It is larger in size and is played both by hand and stick. Although the Tappettai dance is performed all over the state, it is mote popular in the districts of Salem, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Coimbatore. Generally the dance is performed at the time of temple festivals.
Another frame drum dance called Tappeta Gullu is prevalent in Andhra Pradesh, especially in the districts of Srikakulam and East Godavari. Tappeta is a small frame drum which is tied to the chest of each dancer. The dancers wear short pants and tie anklebells on both their ankles. While dancing they play the frame drum. The sound of the drum and anklebells blend well with the songs that accompany the dance. The songs usually are inspired by Krishna legend. The vocalist sings a couplet while the dancers play on the drum softly. The last word of the couplet is repeated by all the dancers loudly in chorus and then play the drum also loudly and dance vigorously. The dance has passages containing acrobatic elements.
There are quite a few drum dances in which the dancers play frame drums while dancing. The most elaborate is the Dappu dance of Andhra Pradesh. Some communities belonging to the Backward Class in Adilabad district perform the dance. Dappu is a round frame drum. The dancers play the drum while dancing. There are five different varieties of Dappu dance depending upon the pattern of stepping. When the dancers tap the ground with their feet alternately, the dance is called Majili Dappu and it is customarily danced at the time of Dussehra (September/October). In the Ata Dappu variety, the dancers take two consecutive steps on the accented beat of the rhythm and it is performed at the time of a marriage ceremony. The Holi Dappu is performed at the time of the Holi festival (February/March). In this variety the dancers take three consecutive steps on the accented beat of the rhythm. In Pochamma Dappu the dancers take four consecutive steps and it is performed to invoke the goddess Pochamma. In the Rolatam Dappu, performed on important festive occasions, the dancers take five consecutive steps.