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Aali Aattam

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இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: ஆலி ஆட்டம்

Aali Aattam

Aali Aattam or (Aali Attam). Aali is a large figurine made of bamboo and paper. Artists do the Aali dance by wearing the Aali figurine on their heads. Additionally, tiger, bear, and old woman dances are performed as auxiliary sub-arts in Aali Aattam. In the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, Aali Aattam is very popular. Aali Aattam is performed in temple halls, public places, streets, chariot festivals, parades, political processions, and stadiums during flag-hoisting ceremonies.

Performance Method

The Aali dancer wears the Aali figurine, a bamboo shell covered with a long skirt and a head so that he is not visible from outside. The performing artist looks out through a small hole in the navel of the figurine.

A total of nine artists perform in Aali Aattam. One of them is the leader. Two of them are Aali dancers wearing bamboo costumes; a tiger, a bear, an old-lady trio and instrument artists of the Tamburu set, Nadaswaram and Jalra, respectively.

The performers do not wear any makeup. However, the bamboo-made Aali figurines and the cardboard-made tiger, bear, and old-lady figurines are all decorated. Aali artists have a slim figure to fit inside the bamboo shell of the Aali figurine. The artists are quick and nimble, and they dance to the beat of the music. To spectators on the outside, the figurines appear to be dancing.

The primary musical instrument for Aali Aattam is the Naiyandi Melam. Other musical instruments like the Jalra and Thamburu set are also played.

Koothu Training

Aali Aattam demands rigorous training and practice. The Aali figurine should not tilt when dancing. Additionally, poor ventilation inside the Aali figurine makes it challenging. As a result, skilled and experienced artisans teach this art. The most seasoned member of a troop is known as the leader, and he is responsible for maintaining the Aali figurines, other musical instruments, and associated costs.

Young students between the ages of fifteen and twenty are trained in their free time. Students pay the leader whatever they can afford. Payment for Aali Aattam is set based on how far away the venue is. Less payment is set for local or nearby towns and more for distant places. After getting paid for the performance at the festival, the leader gives the money to each artist.

Aali Aattam is performed by Devendras, Aadhithravidars, and Arundhatiar communities in large numbers and other communities on a small scale.

Performing Artists

Thalaivar/Leader - coordinator of his team.

Aali Artist - one who dances while wearing an Aali figurine made of bamboo.

Artists: Tiger, Bear, and Old Woman - The trio perform the auxiliary dances for Tiger, Bear, and Old Woman, a sub-art of the Aali Aattam.

Musicians - primary musician is Naiyandi Melam artist. Jalra and Thamburu sets will be played along.

Women do not participate in Aali Aattam. The male Aali artist plays the female in disguise.


The performers do not wear any makeup. However, the bamboo-made Aali figurines and the cardboard-made tiger, bear, and old-lady figurines are all decorated.


Aali Aattam is performed in southern Tamil Nadu villages like Karadikulam, Puliyangudi, Saambavar Vadakarai, Kadaivaal Urutti, Chinna Thambi Nadarur, Velappa Nadarur, Senthamaram, and Surandai.


At occasions like chariot festivals, rallies, and processions, Aali Aattam is performed until the event is over. In the months of Purattasi and Iyppasi, Aali Aattam is also performed at the Temple Chariot Festivals. Aali Aattam performers do not confirm auspicious days for political or social events. Aali Aattam is performed for up to four hours.


Tamil Nadu Folk Performing Arts Encyclopedia - A.K.Perumal

External links

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