Kolkali is a folk art mainly of the agrarian classes. It is a highly rhythmic dance with the dancers wielding short sticks. The rhythm of this dance is set by a harmonious synchronisation of the tapping of the feet to the striking of sticks. The movement is circular and the artists sing as they dance and strike the sticks in unison. Though the dancers break away to form different patterns, they never miss a beat. In Malabar, Kolkali is more popular among Muslim men.
Oppana is a dance form mostly performed at wedding festivities of the Malabar Muslims Maidens and young female relatives sing and dance around the bride, clapping their hands. It is also performed by the men to entertain the bridegroom. Oppana is rarely seen in Malaysia ecxept during cultural performances. ‘Mapilla Paatu’ are however played sometime ‘live’ during weddings and other festivals.
Mapilla Paatu and Aravana has recently gained popularity in Malaysia. Started of as small groups with trainers form Kerala, some of the groups are in the 3rd and 4th generations, currently trained by local trainers. The costumes and songs are also adjusted to meet the local taste and environment. Currently there are 3 such groups all of them in the state of Johor. The are a hit during Malabari weddings all over Malaysia.