Theory:

Folk Culture And Folklore Of Tamil Nadu
     Tamil Nadu is deeply rooted in a great tradition of folk arts and crafts, which display the customs and skills that have come down from generations. The folk music and dances of Tamil Nadu present the ethos, aesthetic, values, and melody of the region. Traditionally, folk dances and music are performed during festivals and community functions. The following article describes some of the folk music styles and dances of Tamil Nadu.

     Karagaattam is a popular folk dance of Tamil Nadu, which involves balancing a pot on the head to musical accompaniment. The Karagam pots are decorated with a cone of flower arrangements, topped by a paper parrot. The parrot swings as the dancer swings along. Karagaattam has two divisions— atta karagam and sakthi karagam. This form of dance is very popular all over Tamil Nadu. Both male and female performers participate in this dance. Acrobatics such as dancing on a rolling block of wood, moving up and down a ladder, threading a needle while bending backward form a part of this dance.
 
     Kavadi Aattam is one of the predominant folk dances of Tamil Nadu. When the ancient Tamils went on pilgrimages, they used to carry offerings tied on either end of a long stick, balanced on their shoulders. A kavadi is made of bamboo strips and a light pole. To lessen the boredom of the long travel, they sing and dance in praise of God. Kavadi Aattam traces its origin to this practice. This led to the composition of special songs for carrying the kavadi.
 
     Poikkal Kudhirai Aattam is a dance in which the dancer puts on the dummy figure of a horse on his / her hips. This folk dance needs a lot of training and skill. The dummy is made of lightweight materials and the cloth at the sides of the dummy swings to and fro covering the legs of the dancer who dons wooden legs so that they look like the hooves of the horse. While performing, the dancer brandishes either a sword or a whip.
Explanation:
 
Plays, dance, and music form a very important part of the culture of Tamil Nadu, with its origin stemming from the older generations. Traditional folk dances of Tamil Nadu include many individual and group forms, some of which are now being practised not only for their heritage but also for entertainment purposes during festivals. 
 
Karagaattam is a dance form in which the karagam pots are made in the form of a cone and enhanced with flower arrangements, with a paper parrot on the top. While they swing, even the parrot swings along with them. There are two types, namely: atta karagam and sakthi karagam. Either men or women can perform this dance. They do many types of acrobatics like dancing on a rolling block of wood moving up and down a ladder, they bend backwards and thread a needle as well.
 
Kavadi attam is a popular folk dance. In olden times when people went for pilgrimages, they used to carry their luggage along with the offerings, which will be tied on either side of the long bamboo stick. They used to carry this on their shoulders. So to minimize the boredom while travelling, they used to sing and dance in praise of  the lord. Later, songs were composed specifically for this.
 
Poikkal Kuthirai Attam: Many of the dance forms practised are woven around a story, intended to entertain the audience or to pay respects to the god. Dancers dress in animal costumes for many dances in Tamil Nadu, showing the strong connection between nature and the Gods. They dress like a peacock for Mayil Attam, as a horse while performing Poikkal Kuthirai, as a bull in Kaalai Attam, snake-like dress for Paambu Attam and as a bear in Karadi Attam. But, the poikkal kudhirai attam is very famous as a dummy figure of a horse is worn on his/her hips and they dance on the wooden legs. This needs lots of practice, and they wave a sword or a whip.
Reference:
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2018). Term-1 English Standard-9. Folklore (pp. 134-136). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.