Mohiniyattam Colloquium in Delhi stresses Evolution Path


A two day colloquium for Mohiniyattam artistes, students, pedagogues and admirers was held in the Meghdooth Theatreof New Delhi recently. This event envisioned Mohiniyattam's theatrical framework's exposition, beside its reflections on both the individual dancers' aesthetics and the art form's contemporary concerns.

It is understood that the colloquium in New Delhi follows suit many symposiums held in the past at Kerala as well as elsewhere with the view of formulating a syllabi for the dance form encompassing the key characteristics of the field's eminent dancers' styles. It is worth noting here that many such efforts taken have invariably resulted in pandemonium.

Unlike the original folk dance fform of Kerala, Koodiyattam and Kathakali, Mohiniyattam is a highly evolved drama based on dance. It seldom has an authoritative history that is acceptable to all the leading practioners of its. This according to many that had participated in the colloquium was the most viable reason for the disparity in thoughts as regards to Mohiniyattam.

Mabalappuzha Vijayakumar's Sopana Sangeetham marked the commencement of the colloquium that unfolded into the topic 'Manifestations in Mohiniyattam. It has been reported that the vocalist had resorted to singing a few regional kirthanas in praise of Lord Shiva, while he was expected to sing either Ashtapadi or a famous lyric such as Ghanshanghamitayunna, as being the traditional way of highlighting the key features of the tradition of temple music.

Kanak Rele, in her keynote address, waxed lyrical on her first exposure to Mohiniyattam. She carried on to regard its surviving teachers, her interaction with the late poet Kavalam Narayana Panicker and last but not least, about her own contributions to the provision of a scientific tenor to Mohiniyattam based on her experience, studies and academic acumen.

Rele referred in her address, to treatises including the Balaramabharatha of Karthika Thirunal in the establishment of Mohiniyattam's body kinetics. A disciple of Rele, Saji Menon demonstrated certain key aspects of the dance form's Nritha and Nrithya, encapsulating Mohiniyattam's movement dynamics.