Kathakali : A very popular dance form with the tourists visiting Kerala. It is actually a dance drama performed by mostly male artist. The actors convey the message of the story through very expressive facial movements and mudras (hand gesture).
The background singers provide the dialogue. The face of the Kathakali artist is colorfully painted to suit the role. The painted face is often mistaken for a mask. Kerala Kalamandalam situated near Thrissur is a major Kathakali training centre. There are many Kathakali centers in Thiruvananthapuram and Cochin. The painting of the Kathakali face can be seen at most centers if you can visit the centre at least one hour before the performance.
The other dance forms popular in Kerala are Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattom, Ottamthullal, Margam Kali and Chavitu Natakom. Oppana is also very popular in Malabar region.

Kalaripayattu: The martial art form of Kerala is believed to be the predecessor to the more famous Karate and Kungfu. Available historic evidence prove practice of Kalari as far back as the 12th Century AD. There is a branch of medicine called Kalari Chikilsa, which has developed as an offshoot of Kalaripayattu, is mainly deals with cure of injuries and sprains.
Kalaripayattu can be seen in the various training centers in the state. C.V.N. Kalari is a famous Kalari training centre. They have training centers in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode besides other places.