Kathakali is one of the major forms of classical Indian dance. It is a “story play” genre of art, but one distinguished by the elaborately colorful make-up, costumes and facemasks that the traditionally male actor-dancers wear. Kathakali primarily developed as a Hindu performance art in the Malayalam-speaking southwestern region of India (Kerala).
A Kathakali performance, like all classical dance arts of India, synthesizes music, vocal performers, choreography and hand and facial gestures together to express ideas. However, Kathakali differs in that it also incorporates movements from ancient Indian martial arts and athletic traditions of South India. Kathakali also differs in that the structure and details of its art form developed in the courts and theatres of Hindu principalities, unlike other classical Indian dances which primarily developed in Hindu temples and monastic schools.
Information source: Wikipedia