Established in 1930, the Kerala Kalamandalam, devoted to classical performing arts, is situated near the majestic river Bharathapuzha
, in the village of Cheruthuruthy
, in Thrissur District
. The ancient gurukula system (staying with the teacher for education) continues to be a living tradition in the school. It offers training, and conducts performances in Kathakali
, Koodiyattam, Thullal, and Mohiniyattam
. Classical Carnatic music (vocal), and Panchavadyam
, one of the wonderful instrumental ensembles of Kerala, and Mridangam are also taught. Besides the regular, long term, intensive courses leading to professional expertise, Kalamandalam also provides, on request, short term and personalized courses.
Towards the close of the nineteenth century, the traditional arts of Kerala were on the verge of extinction, due to many varied social, political and cultural factors. Poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, an outstanding poet, scholar and a passionate lover of Kathakali and other similar classical dance-theatre traditions of Kerala, took steps to save Kathakali and other art-forms from eclipse, and established Keralakalamandalam, in 1930. He invited veterans in the field, to the institution, who lived in Kalamandalam, performed in its yard and taught talented students.
The growing number of students and teachers, along with new courses, compelled a shift from Cheruthuruthy to the thirty-two acre campus at Vallathol Nagar. The campus at Vallathol Nagar consists of several kalaris (training rooms), the Koothambalam (Temple-theatre), high school, library, art-galleries, recording studios, hostels and staff quarters.
Since its establishment, Kalamandalam has been enriching its relations with different countries of the world. Apart from receiving students and researchers from abroad, troupes of Kalamandalam have been traveling to Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan and US for participation in the International Dance and Theatre Festivals.