, also spelled Mohiniattam
(), is a traditional South Indian dance
, developed by the Tamil nattuvanar
(dance master) Vadivelu,one of the Thanjavur Quartet
. It is one of the eight Indian classical dance
forms. It is considered a very graceful dance meant to be performed as a solo recital 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"
. There are two stories of the Lord Vishnu
disguised as a Mohini. In one, he appears as Mohini to lure the asuras
(demons) away from the amrita
(nectar of immortality) obtained during the churning of the palazhi or Ocean of Milk
In the second story Vishnu appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva
from the demon Bhasmasura
. The name Mohiniyattam may have been coined after Lord Vishnu, and the main theme of the dance is love and devotion to God, with usually Vishnu or Krishna
being the hero. Devadasis used to perform this in temples. But it also has elements of Koothu and Kottiyattom
in it. Mohiniyattam is a drama in dance and verse.
This dance which has influences and elements from two South Indian dance forms, the Bharatanatyam
, was formulated in the court of king Swati Tirunal
by Vadivelu, one of the Thanjavur Quartet
. The dance involves the swaying of broad hips
and the gentle movements of erect......