DANCES OF INDIA – MOHINIATTAM DANCE
Mohiniyattam also Called Mohiniattam is a traditional South Indian dance from Kerala State, developed by the Tamil nattuvanar Vadivelu,one of the Thanjavur Quartet. It is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms of the India. It is considered a very graceful dance meant to be performed as a solo recital by women. The term Mohiniatam comes from the words “Mohini” meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and “aattam” meaning graceful body movements. The word “Mohiniatam” literally means “dance of the enchantress”. There are two stories of the Lord Vishnu disguised as a Mohini. In one,he appears as Mohini to lure the asuras (demons) away from the amrita (nectar of immortality) obtained during the churning of the palazhi or Ocean of Milk.
And the second story Lord Vishnu appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura. The name Mohiniatam may have been coined after Lord Vishnu, and the main theme of the dance is love and devotion to God, with usually Vishnu or Krishna being the hero. Devadasis used to perform this in temples. But it also has elements of Koothu and Kottiyattom in it. Mohiniatam is a drama in dance and verse.
The costume includes white sari embroidered with bright golden brocade (known as kasavu) at the edges. The dance follows the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika, which has elaborate description of Mudras or expressions by the hand palm and fingers.The vocal music of Mohiniatam involves variations in rhythmic structure known as chollu. The lyrics are in Manipravalam, which is a mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam. The Mohiniatam dance is performed to this accompaniment by the subtle gestures and footwork of the danseuse. The performer uses the eyes in a very coy yet sensual manner, the purpose being to enchant the mind without enticing the senses.