An abode of excellence Margi has become a centre of excellence in classical arts over the years. The name Margi in Sanskrit means pursuit of aesthetic values, which are universal and everlasting. Founded in the year 1970 by the eminent theatre personality the late D. Appukkuttan Nair, Margi, from its very beginning is at the forefront in preserving and propagating classical arts in Kerala. Margi is specially noted for its training in the major performing art forms like Kutiyattam, Nangiarkoothu and Kathakali.
Margi has its activities going on at two places in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. The one at Valiyasala is where Kudiyattam and Nangiarkoothu are performed. The other one near East Fort is devoted exclusively for Kathakali. At both centres, students undergo training in their chosen fields of performing art forms. Training in musical instruments like chenda, maddalam, Idakka and thimila are also given at Margi. Apart from regular courses, Margi conducts short-term courses, especially for foreigners.
Some of the renowned artistes associated with Margi in the field of acting include Inchakattu Ramachandran Pillai, Kalamandalam Ratheesan, Margi Vijayakumar, Margi Murali, and Kalamandalam Balasubramaniam. Noted musicians including Kalamandalam Krishnankutty and Kalanilayam Rajeevan (Vocal); Kalamandalam Krishna Das, (Chenda); Margi Retnakaran (Maddalam), Margi Somadas (Make-up and stage) are also associated with the institution.
Margi maintains a system known as Kaliyogam or a performing group staying together all the time. The Chief Guru is always a senior and well-accepted master of the art form. The key function of a Kaliyogam is to have variety in its repertoire so as to sustain interest in the art.
With facilities for teaching and a mini theatre for regular performances, the two centres of Margi in Thiruvananthapuram attract students and scholars from Kerala and outside.
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