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28th March 2024 (12 Topics)

Mohiniyattam

Context

In a historic move, the Kerala Kalamandalam has decided to lift the ban on males studying 'Mohiniyattam'.

About Mohiniyattam

  • Mohiniyattam is one of the eight classical dances of India that developed and remained popular in the state of Kerala.
  • Mohiniyattam dance gets its name from the word Mohini– a mythical enchantress avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, who helps good prevail over evil by developing her feminine powers.
  • Mohiniyattam’s roots, like all classical Indian dances, are in the Natya Shastra – the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on performance arts.
  • However, it follows the Lasya style described in Natya Shastra which is a dance that is delicate and feminine. The delicate body movements and subtle facial expressions are more feminine in nature and therefore are ideally suited for performance by women.
  • Costumes: The costume includes plain white or off-white such as ivory or cream coloured sari embroidered with bright golden or gold laced coloured brocade (similar to a ceremonial Kasavu saree).
  • Music and instruments:The vocal (music) of Mohiniyattam involves various rhythms. There are numerous compositions for a Mohiniyattam repertoire, most of whose lyrics are in Manipravalam, a mixture of Sanskrit, Tamil and Malayalam.
    • The musical instruments usually used in Mohiniyattam are Mridangam or Madhalam (barrel drum), Idakka (hourglass drum), flute, Veena, and Kuzhitalam (cymbals).
    • The ragas (melody) are rendered in the sopana (steps) style, which is a slow melodic style with roots in the Natya Shastra.

India’s recognised classical dances: Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri, and Mohiniyattam.

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