Mohiniattam

From Academic Kids

Mohiniaattam (മൊഹിനിയാട്ടം) (also spelled as mohiniattam or mohiniyattam) is a traditional South Indian dance form from Kerala, India. It is a very graceful dance meant to be performed as a solo recital by women. The term Mohiniattam comes from the words "Mohini" implying a feeling of warm enchantment and "aattam" meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word "Mohiniattam" literally means "dance of the enchantress".

The dance has influences and elements from two South Indian dance forms, the Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of erect torso from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound kerala, the land of Mohiniattam. The costume includes white sari embroidered with bright golden fabric at the edges. The dance follows the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika, which has elaborate description of Mudras (gestural expressions by the hand and fingers).

The vocal music of Mohiniattam involves variations in rhythmic structure called as choll. The mohiniattam dance is performed to this accompaniment by the subtle gestures and footwork of the danseuse. The performer uses the eyes in a very coyish yet sensual manner. The purpose being to enchant the mind without enticing the senses.

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