Mohiniattam, is essentially a feminine dance of Kerala recorded to have begun between the 3rd and 8th century AD. Legend says the Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini to entice the asuras (demons). During the churning of the ocean, the asuras rushed towards the bowl of nectar. Vishnu appeared in the feminine form of Mohini to entice the asuras and took the bowl away.
Literally meaning the dance of the enchantress, Mohiniyattam was mainly performed in the temple precincts of Kerala. This dance form found acceptance in the 16th century and in 19th century Maharaja Swati Tirunal of Travancore encouraged it. The most popular padams in Mohiniattam, composed by Swati Tirunal, describe the heroine's yearning for her lover. Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna is more often the hero.
Mohiniattam was conceived as a form of social diversion. It is essentially a solo dance performed by women with tender and graceful body movements in the lasy style. Hand gestures play an important role as a communication system. The dominant emotion in this dance form is shringara or love for the Divine.
The dancer wears a white sari resplendent in a gold border. On festive occasions, young girls perform this dance ina circle with simple movements, while singing songs.
The repertoirs of Mohiniattam follows closely that of Bharatanatyam. Mohiniattam, like other forms, follows the Hasthalakshana Deepika as textbook of hand gestures. The basic steps in this dance form are adavus-toganam, jaganam,dhaganam and sammisram. The adavus or steps are set to musical compositions. The varnam has a simple format with greater emphasis on abhinaya and less on nritta or pure dance.
The performance begins with Ganapati stuti or invocation followed by mukhachalam, a pure dance item in which the graceful delineation of charcteristic movements is seen. The repertoire of Mohiniattam consists of five principal items, starting with cholkettu, then vrnam, jatiswaram, padam and concluding with tillana. Varnam combines pure and expressional dance, while padam tests the histrionic talent of a dancer and tillana reveals her technical artistry. Jayadevas Gita-Govinda is most popularly performed to depict the divine love of Radha and Sri Krishna.
The most well-known performers of this dance are Ms Kanak Rele and Ms Bharati Shivaji.
BHARATA NATYAM KATHAKALI KATHAK MANIPURI KUCHIPUDI ODISSI MOHINI ATTAM
BHANGRA DHUMAL ROUF LAMA DANCE PANGI DANCES LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM RAAS GIDDA DHAMYAL DUPH LAHOOR DHURANG MALI DANCE TERA TALI
BIHU NAGA DANCE HAZAGIRI BAMBOO DANCE NONGKREM THANG-TA KARMA PONUNG BRITA OR VRITA HURKA BAUL KALI NACH GANTA PATUA PAIK DALKHAI
GENDI BHAGORIYA JAWAR GARBA DANDIYA KALA DINDI MANDO
DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA KARAGAM KUMMI KUTTIYATTAM
PADAVANI KOLAM LAVA NICOBARESE