Boys oil themselves before a massage by a teacher, Kerala Kalamandalam, Kerala, India. Massage is seen as an essential part of Kathakali training, making the boy's bodies supple and strong.
The Kalamandalam was founded in 1930 to preserve the cultural traditions of Kathakali, the stylised dance drama of Kerala. Kathakali is the classical dance-drama of Kerala, South India, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology. Kathakali is a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance performed by actors wearing extensive make up and elaborate costume who perform plays which retell in dance form stories from the Hindu epics.