Art Forms

Dance of the Enchantress – Mohiniyattom

Coastal Kerala is the land of palm trees and gently flowing rivers and this very rhythm is captured in the art form of Kerala’s traditional dance – Mohiniyattom. Mohiniyattom involves gentle movements and swaying of hips and torso in semi circular movements by women. There are approximately 40 basic movements. ‘Mohini’ means a maiden who steals hearts and ‘Attom’ is dance, making it the dance of enchantress!

The dancer adorns a white sari with bright golden brocade at the edges. The jewellery worn is the typical Temple gold finish jewellery set with a proper golden Lakshmi belt specially designed for Mohiniyattom. Chilanka or dancing bells are also worn by the dancer on her legs as anklets. The performer also adorns herself with fresh white Jasmine flowers on her hair gathered up and positioned on the left side of the head pinned on to a beautiful Jurapin – A distinctive hairstyle of the dance.

The dance follows the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika that gives elaborate description of gestural expressions by the hand palm and fingers (mudras). It is a semi classical dance form of Kerala that never fails to enthrall the viewer.

Story Telling – Kathakali

A traditionally male group presentation of stylized classical dance drama story telling with attractive and elaborate make-up, costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with music and percussion.

Kathakali originated in the 17th century in Kerala and is one of the oldest theatre dance forms in the world. The stories revolve around Hindu mythology.

The most interesting part of this dance is the makeup code. Nobility that is virtuous is shown in green and that which is evil has green makeup streaked with red. Evil characters are made up in red and female and religious characters are painted yellow. Hunters and others, not of royalty are painted black. The huge head gears and costumes gives a flow of ‘beyond mortal’ feel to the audience and they are taken to wonder

The performance usually starts in the evening goes into dawn to show the triumph of good over evil. The movements are rigorous and require high muscle flexibility to a very special style of singing by two singers. It is an entrancing experience of stupor.

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