© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Health Ayurveda Plants Mantra Tovil Treatments

Tovil dances consist of 5 different poses called matra:

1. The dancer bends his knees a little, stretching his arms with the thumbs and forefingers touching, to form a circle. The other fingers are spread out.

2. The body is bent at the knees, with the heels touching and the feet pointing in opposite directions.

3. Turning around

4. A hundred steps which are composed of 4 separate poses:

 I) A forward step which is stamped hard on the ground

          2) left foot is moved a little backwards  and to the left side.

          3) Right foot is again stamped on same spot

          4) The left foot is stamped and is placed beside the right foot with heels touching as in the  second pose

5) This one  is called the Little bell. In this pose the dancer stands on tip- toe and moves his legs in a shaking motion.

In addition to the poses and steps, there are the special mantra – recitations - that are sung at different stages of the Tovil Dance. These take years to fully learn and are passed down through the generations from the experienced Tovil Dancers to their Apprentices who learn them through participating in the Tovil Dances and through observation.


Training to be a Tovil Dancer is long  and arduous and often starts in childhood. Frequently the knowledge is passed down from father to son through the generations although boys and men whose relatives are not Tovil Dancers can be apprenticed.

First the trainees learn the poses.