Mohiniyattam

Mohiniyattam is the most enchanting classical dance form of Kerala. This classical dance form of Kerala was first performed by women in temples, over a thousand years ago, as an offering to their beloved God. Mohiniyattam is a fusion of Bharathanatyam and Kathakali, as it combines the graceful elegance of Bharatanatyam and dynamism and vigour of Kathakali. ‘Mohini’ means the Celestial beauty and ‘attam’ means her dance and hence the term ‘Mohiniyattam’ literally means the dance of the celestial enchantress. It is a ‘Lasya’- the feminine charm oriented dance form.

Compared most other dance forms, Mohiniyattam gives more importance to gesture and facial acting. The Mudras (hand gestures) are almost always same as those employed in Kathakali. The artists try to enact the lyrics almost in its entirety, like in Kathakali. The language used in the lyrics is a pleasant mixture of Malayalam and Sanskrit, known as Manipravalam. In Mohiniyattam, the Lasya element of dancing is predominant, and the mood created is Sringaram (erotic). Costumes and ornaments of Mohiniyattam have much in common with female characters of Koodiyattam and Kathakali. The accompaniments for Mohiniyattam are Vocal, Veena, Venu, Maddalam and Idakka. Other musical instruments are also not unusual.

Now a day’s artists are using any classical or semi-classical compositions, even from other language. The real beauty of Mohiniyattam comes through only when mature ladies enact the romantic padams specially written to present the Ashta Nayikas: Swadheena Bharthruka, Khanditha, Abhisarika, Vipralabdha, Kalahandtharitha, Vasakasajja, Proshithabharthruka, Viraholkhanditha.

Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma (wife of famous Kathakali artist, late Padmashree Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair) and Chinnammu Amma are well known Mohiniyattam performers. Among the present day artists Kalamandalam Sathyabhama, Kalamandalam Kshemavathi, Bharathi Sivaji, Kanak Rele, Sunanda Nair etc.. are well known artists.



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