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Mohiniyattam Classical Dance by Deepti Omchery Bhalla

Mohiniyattam, the female classical solo dance of Kerala, is the dance of the Mohini, the celestial enchantress of Hindu mythology. The dance is based on Hastha Lakhsana Deepika, the treatise on hand gestures, and its lyrics are in Manipravala, a mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam languages.

Mohiniyattam usually deals with the themes of love and devotion. The slow, swaying movements of Mohiniyattam along with subtle facial expressions give it an identity different from that of the other classical dance forms of India.

The predominant emotive element of this dance is laasya or sensuality. Once performed only in temple premises, Mohiniyattam was made popular by the erstwhile king of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal.

Swathi Thirunal patronized the dance to the extent of giving it a typical Kerala touch. Irayimman Thampi, the court musician of Swathi Thirunal, and Kuttikunju Thankachi are others who contributed to the growth of Mohiniyattam.

The dance featured here is Innu Mama Bhagya Taru, the famed work of Swathi Thirunal.

A multifaceted artiste, Dr. Deepti Omchery Bhalla, who performs in the video is proficient in Indian classical dance forms like Mohiniyattam and Kathakali and is a musician with strong base in the Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music. She is currently a Professor in Carnatic Music at the Faculty of Music, University of Delhi.