Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Artform in news: Mohiniyattam Danceform


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Mohiniyattam and its features

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Kerala Kalamandalam, a deemed university for arts and culture, has unanimously lifted gender restrictions allowing boys for learning Mohiniyattam, a classical dance form.

About Mohiniyattam

Name Meaning Mohini – female enchantress avatar of Vishnu;

Aattam – rhythmic motion or dance (Malayalam)

Roots Natya Shastra, ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on performance arts
Style Lasya Style – delicate, eros-filled, and feminine
Performers Traditionally women, but men also perform in contemporary times
Music Includes Carnatic music, singing, and enactment of plays through dance
Language Manipravalam : a Malayalam-Sanskrit hybrid
Posture Parted feet, gentle swaying of body, soft footwork synchronized with music beats
Gestures Follow the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika with elaborate mudras (hand gestures)
Costumes Plain white or off-white sarees with golden brocade, pleated sheets for freedom of movement, adorned with jewellery
Accessories Jewellery on fingers, wrists, neck, and ears, ankle bells (for female performers), dhotis and similar accessories (for male performers)
Makeup Natural with brilliant red lips, tikka (Gobi) on forehead, lined eyes
Music Various rhythms and compositions in Manipravalam, accompanied by instruments like Mridangam, Idakka, flute, Veena, and Kuzhitalam
Ragas Rendered in the Sopana Style, a slow melodic style rooted in the Natya Shastra




2012: How do you distinguish between Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dances?

  1. Dancers occasionally speaking dialogues is found in Kuchipudi dance but not in Bharatanatyam.
  2. Dancing on the brass plate by keeping the feet on its edges is a feature of Bharatanatyam but Kuchipudi dance does not have such a form of movements.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


Practice MCQ:

Which of the following statements about Mohiniyattam is not true?

  1. Mohiniyattam derives its name from “Mohini,” the female enchantress avatar of Vishnu, and “Aattam,” meaning rhythmic motion or dance in Malayalam.
  2. Its roots can be traced back to the Natya Shastra, an ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on performance arts.
  3. Mohiniyattam is characterized by the Tandava style, known for its vigorous movements.
  4. Performances of Mohiniyattam typically include enactment of plays through dance, accompanied by singing and Carnatic music.

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