NatyaSutraOnline is an attempt to permanently preserve the rich classical dance and music heritage of India. Our dream is to provide 24/7 online access to personalized lectures, tutorials, dance classes, and performances of all Indian classical dance forms.
Learn a unique composition in the Mohiniyattam tradition, AdikeshavaNrityaPrabandham. This centuries old composition was taught, explained, demonstrated and performed by…
Dr Neena Prasad
Dr Deepti Omchery Bhalla
Mohiniyattam translates literally to the ‘Dance of Mohini’, a legendary enchantress who is said to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu the Protector. This classical dance form is based out of Kerala and has rich bonds with Indian folklore. The uniqueness of these performances lies in the fact that they more than a storyline, they focus on mesmerizing and gaining the complete attention of the viewers. This art form has borne much turmoil since its origins in the temples of God’s Own Country, but its ability to charm and entice its audience remains the same.
Lord Vishnu is said to have adorned the avatar of Mohini to distract the Asuras, during the mythical churning of the Ocean. While temple sculptures and records show traces of Mohiniyattam, definitive reference to the same appears in Vyavaharamala by Narayanan Nampoothiri in the 16th century. It’s rather restricted growth was reversed by the patronage of connoisseurs and art enthusiasts.
The first was the young King of Travancore and art aficionado, Swati Thirunal (18th -19th-century C.E). His compositions and support ensured that mohiniyattam was further developed into its current form. The second modern contributor was Vallathol Narayana Menon, the great Mahakavi of Kerala. He set up a special institution in 1930, Kerala Kalamandalam, to preserve the ancient art forms of Kerala. This firmly enshrined mohiniyattam in the public consciences, as an official center to disseminate its learning helped it thrive in the public conscience.
Mohiniyattam performers command the stage alone and follow the lasya style of dance. This points to a more feminine and gentler set of movements. The performer’s subtle changes in expressions and graceful maneuvers across the stage are hallmarks of this dance form. The performer appears to glide rather than jerk, carefully lulling the audience into a more relaxed headspace.
Its movements draw from other classical dance forms as well. A higher emphasis on acting can be observed, as the artisan delves deeply into the role of the character they are depicting. Backed by traditional Carnatic soundtracks, Mohiniyattam performances are renowned for the vivid hand gestures, eye-movements and wave-like motions of the artist.
This dance form has come a long way from being performed exclusively in temples and palaces. Today, it is a source of great pride and joy in God’s Own Country, and regular performances can be witnessed throughout the year. Lectures and demonstrations can be viewed on a plethora of platforms. There are newer generations of prodigies who are drawn to the methodical, patient and slower-paced approach of Mohiniyattam. The spirit of this ancient temple art form is preserved through them.
Learn a unique composition in the Mohiniyattam tradition, AdikeshavaNrityaPrabandham. This centuries old composition was taught, explained, demonstrated and performed by Dr DeeptiOmcheryBhalla for online students of Natyasutra. This choreography, which pays homage to Adikeshava, the principal deity of the Thiruvattar Adikeshava Perumal Temple in the Kanyakumari district, is a notable piece set to the Tukka raga and Chembada Tala.
‘Aliveni Enthu Cheyvu’ is a very popular composition of Swathi Thirunal Maharaja. The course contains 22 video and Dr. Neena Prasad elaborately explains, through the help of her student, the subtle expressions behind the lyrics of the poem.
Dr Deepti Omchery Bhalla presents a new lecture series dedicated to Lord Ganesha in his child form. The popular ‘Bala Ganapathy’ of the Indian pantheon is majestically rendered in this work titled as ‘Paithal Ganapathy’.
Dr. Neena Prasad offers detailed analysis, demonstration, and advice on how students must appropriately approach Revati Raga in this Mohiniyattam Thillana. Demonstrations followed by lectures and explanations are the format followed in this course. The different movements of the dancer in the Thillana, the adavus, korvais, and mudras, are carefully explained.
Dr. Neena Prasad's teachings commence with an overview of the Swarajathi, elaborating upon its various facets. The Guru then teaches the students the Ananda Bhairavi Swarajathi, individual components of each part, and elaborates on the performance's technical aspects. This class simplifies the teaching process for learners by providing a complete version of the composition and student demonstrations for better understanding.
Mohniyattam artiste Guru Smitha Rajan guides the students through the concept and central theme of the Suma Sayaka Varnam, individual components of each part, and elaborates on the performance's technical aspects. This class also contains a complete performance and msuic/ audio download of the composition.
Cholkettu, the invocation rituals in mohiniyattam presented by Smitha Rajan. This carnatic composition pays homage to Sri Parvathi-Parameshwara and Devi Saraswathi. The learning of the Cholkettu represents a crucial epoch in a dancer's journey
It is an ode to Goddess Lalithambika. This keerthana is performed by Smitha Rajan, the granddaughter of Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma.
Thillana represents the firth item of a Mohiniyattam performance. This is an original composition of Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma and this dance video tutorial has been shortened by Smitha Rajan
Smitha Rajan takes us on a mystical journey in this Mohiniyattam performance. Composed by her legendary grandmother, Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma, this padam Kanden Shyamala traces the bliss of encountering a divine being.