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Watch: Breaking Barriers as the First Female Thirayattam Performer

Thirayattam, a traditional ritualistic dance form performed in the sacred groves of South Malabar, has long been a bastion of male performers from Dalit communities. However, Seetha Sathish has shattered stereotypes and emerged as the first female Thirayattam performer, transcending gender and caste boundaries. Her journey is not just a personal achievement but also a milestone in the bringing gender equality and social inclusivity in performing the traditional ritualistic dance.


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In a society where certain traditions and art forms were traditionally dominated by men, Seetha's entry into the domain was a bold move. Her inspiration came from Thirayattam exponent Peethambaran Moorkkanadu, who saw the potential in her and encouraged her to learn and perform the art. Motivated by this support, Seetha took her first steps onto a path that was largely uncharted for women.


Thirayattam is deeply rooted in the culture and traditions of South Malabar, and it has been passed down through generations. The dance is primarily performed in the sacred groves known as Kaavu, and its origins date back centuries. Traditionally, it was exclusively practiced by men from the Dalit communities, and the very idea of a woman joining their ranks was unheard of until Seetha's entry.


For Seetha, the decision to become a Thirayattam performer was not just a personal aspiration but a commitment to breaking down societal barriers. She believed that her involvement would inspire more women to pursue their passions, especially in traditional art forms that had long been off-limits. Her goal was not only to excel in Thirayattam but also to act as a catalyst for change, encouraging others to challenge gender barriers.

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