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Monday, December 21, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Mohiniattam

Mohiniattam

Mohiniattam or the Dance of a magician, 'Mohini' = beautiful woman & 'attam' =  dance, is originally a solo dance performance by women that was further developed by Vadivelu in the 19th century and gained notability under the rulers of Travancore in the present State of Kerala.

The patronage of Swathi Thirunal (the Travancore ruler in the 19th century) is notable. After it had fallen to obscurity (twilight), the famous Malayali poet V.N.Menon revived it along with Kalyani Amma.


Some of the features of Mohiniattam are:

  •  Mohiniattam combines the grace and elegance of Bharatnatyam with the rigor of Kathakali. There is a marked absence of amazing footsteps and the footwork is gentle.

  • Mohiniattam generally describes the story of the feminine dance of Vishnu.

  • It has its own Nritta and Nritya features like that of other classical dances.

  • The Lasya aspect (beauty & grace) of dance is dominant in a Mohiniattam recital. Hence, it is mainly performed by female dancers.


  • The costume is of exceptional significance in Mohiniattam, with white and off-white being the principal colors and the presence of gold-colored brocade designs. There is no elaborate facial make-up. The dancer wears a leather strap with bells (Ghungroo) on her ankles.


  • 'Atavakul or Atavus' is a collection of 40 basic dance movements.

  • Musical instruments used are cymbals (chime), veena, drums, flute, etc.

Famous proponents: Sunanda Nair, Kalamandalam Keshemavathy, Madhuri Amma, Jayaprabha Menon, etc.

Fig: Mohiniattam






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