Mohiniyattam - Basics

A classical dance form originating from Kerala in southern India, Mohiniyattam devotes itself to articulating the leela of Vishnu in his Mohini (enchantress) avatar. Like various other dance forms of the subcontinent, Mohiniyattam emerged as a devotional performing art of the temples before gradually spreading far and wide. In this course, Gopika Varma, one of the finest dancers in India, teaches the basic concepts, techniques and subtleties of this enchanting classical dance form. This course is for anyone interested in making a start in learning or even just developing basic appreciation of Mohinyattam.

Instructor: Gopika Varma

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Suggested Time

16 weeks







Unit 1: Let us begin

The basic stances 10 min

The entire performance of Mohiniyattam is made up of movements based on five basic stances. In this chapter, you will learn these exact stances and get an idea of how further movements are built on these fixed positions.
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Unit 2: Adavus - The basic steps

Jaganam Adavus 4 min

The Adavus begin with the sound or syllable "Ja"
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Dhaganam Adavus 4 min

The Adavus begin with the sound or syllable "Dh"
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Samishram / Vakram Adavus 5 min

These are the other three adavus mixed together and therefore, more complicated than each of them individually
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Theermanam Adavus 5 min

As the name theermanam suggests, these steps are used to conclude a dance performance.
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Unit 3: In between sets

Vayyams / Charis 4 min

These are the dance steps that are used to fill in the gaps between the main pieces of a performance
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Unit 4: Choreography

Cholkettus 8 min

Cholkettu consists of stylised rhythmic syllables in tune with raga and the danseuse with pure dance patterns dances appropriate to it. Beautiful sculpturesque postures and atavus are combined with intricate rhythm and designed to highlight the grace of this dance style.
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Unit 5: Conclusion

Basic Tips 4 min

Smt Gopika Varma shares her views on how to go about applying the knowledge offered in this course.
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