A folk art mainly of the agrarian classes, Kolkkali is a highly rhythmic dance with the dancers wielding short sticks. A mixed dance in which both men and women participate. The performers move in a circle, striking small sticks and keeping rhythm with special steps. The circle expands and contracts as the dance progress. The accompanying music gradually rises in pitch and the dance reaches its climax .
Sometimes it is performed on a specially constructed wooden stage .Thus the name thattinmelkali. 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, Kolkkali is more popular among Muslim men. Kolkkali is also performed by women folk during the Thiruvathira festival.