Folk dances, as native art forms have existed since time unknown to man. Come witness one of the most ancient art forms native to Pollachi and its surrounding villages – kummipaatu – a dance form that came to be known so because of the Tamil word kommai, meaning to dance along with the clapping of the hands.
While there are various forms, the one practiced in Vettaikaranpudur is known as Valliamman kummi.
Amidst the steep decline for popularity of this art form, one man and his efforts to sustain kummipaatu, echo through the streets of Vettaikaranpudur. Having trained under legendary dancers since he was 18, the now 60-something-old Balasubramaniam, trains nearly 50 performers of all ages – men, teenagers and children.
The men are dressed rather simply, in a white veshti and clean shirt, with bells around their feet.
23 acts so rich in history, culture, verses, music, rhythm and meaning have been instrumental in giving Pollachi an identity. Today, it is increasingly becoming a hotspot for travellers who come seeking a cultural immersion – establishing the fact that art doesn’t need a village to survive, but villages are in need of art to thrive.
Read More: THE TORCHBEARERS OF TRADITION