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Mohiniyaattam is a distinctive dance form of Kerala. According to Hindu mythology Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini, the divine enchantress. Thats how the dance form got its name. This dance-form is different from the other performing arts of Kerala mainly in two respects. Firstly, the dominantly religious atmosphere of the other classical dance-styles is absent in Mohiniyaattam. Secondly, it did not flourish in temple-precincts like Bharathanatyam Odissi, or Kuchipudi.
Wide swinging steps and the swinging movement of the torso from side to side are traits of mohiniattam. Rhythmic variations called 'choll~' based on patterns of rhythm syllables are an integral part of the vocal accompaniment. And this is gracefully rendered by the dancer with beautiful gestures and footwork.
Mohiniyaattam is a dance of sheer enchantment, its purpose being overtly sensual. This classical style was born out of a clever fusion of the highly stylized and male-monopolized Kathakali with the rigid Bharathanatyam. Though it shows deep affinities with both these styles, it has developed as a distinct dance-form with its own personality. Like Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyaattam is primarily intended as a solo dance to be performed by women, and its technical structure is quite similar to the former. At the same time, the great influence of Kathakali movements has given it a much greater dramatic, emotional impact.