Mohiniyattam dance is a classical dance form from Kerala, India.
Believed to have originated in 16th century CE. It is considered a
very graceful form of dance meant to be performed as solo recitals by
women.The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words "Mohini"
meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and "aattam" meaning
graceful and sensuous body movements. The word "Mohiniyattam"
literally means "dance of the enchantress".
The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of erect posture 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 Mohiniyattam. There are approximately 40 basic movements, known as atavukal.
The costume includes white sari embroidered with bright golden brocade (known as kasavu) at the edges. The dance follows the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika, which has elaborate description of mudras (gestural expressions by the hand palm and fingers). Over the past few decades, the repertoire of Mohiniattam has been developed and expanded by dedicated performers who have ensured that this beautiful dance style retains a distinct identity among the classical dance styles of India. Apart from mythology, Mohiniattam contains a range of themes from nature.