meaning the 'dance of the celestial enchantress', the sensual dance of
Mohiniyattam is a distinctive classical dance form of Kerala.
This sensuous dance of the enchantress contains elements of Bharathnatyam as well as the classical and folk dances of the state. Slow, graceful, swaying movements of the body and the limbs and highly emotive eyes and hand gestures are unique to this dance form.
The simple, elegant gold filigreed dress, in, pure white or ivory is akin to the traditional attire of the women of Kerala. Usually performed as a solo dance, Mohiniyattam is very lyrical in its rendering.
The origin of Kerala is rooted in Hindu mythology. Once the ocean of milk was churned by the gods and the demons to extract the elixir of life and immorality. The demons made away with this divine brew.
Lord Vishnu came to the rescue of the panicky gods and assumed the female form of an amorous celestial damsel, Mohini. Captivating the demons with her charms, Mohini stole the nectar from them and restored it to the gods.
This dance was adopted by the 'Devadasi' or temple dancers, hence also the name 'Dasiattam', which was very popular during the Chera reign from 9th to 12th century.