The female performers of Koodiyattam
are called ‘Nangyars’, whereas male dancers are called ‘Chakyars’. Nangyars belong to the Nambiar caste of Kerala
. The combined performance of Chakyar and Nangyar in the dance gave the name Koodiyattam (composite dancing). Female soloist performance is called Nangyar Koothu. Both nangyars and chakyars wear elaborate and colourful make-up and costume. Different forms of the ‘abhinaya’ (acting), stated in the Natyashastra, are used by the performer during the play.