Mohiniyattam, it is said, has the stamp of Kerala all over it – in its rhythms and movements. Celebrated as the sublime manifestation of feminine grace, the dance form is firmly rooted in the Malayali psyche.
History says that Swati Thirunal, the king of erstwhile Travancore dynasty who patronised music and art immensely, revived the dance in the 19th century. The dance witnessed another major phase of growth in recent history, when it was taken up at the academic level at the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1951 by poet Vallathol Narayana Menon. Now, the Shatkala Govinda Marar Smaraka Kalasamiti is gearing up to celebrate, and debate on, the evolution of the dance form during the last 60 years. In this connection, a festival of Mohiniyattam recitals and a seminar will be organised for three days, starting from Friday, at the Shadkala Govinda Marar memorial auditorium, Ramamangalam.
Renowned dancer Kalamandalam Kshemavati will inaugurate the festival on March 16.
George S. Paul, president of the samithi will preside over the event and Kalamandalam Kshemavati will be honoured at the function.
The inaugural session will be followed by dance recital by Gopika Varma, who is a disciple of Kalamandalam Kalyanikuttyamma and also had training under Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair in acting and Kavalam Narayana Panikker in Sopanam system.
The next day will have Jayaprabha Menon, one of the leading Mohiniyattom dancers in the country and presently based in New Delhi, performing.
The last day will have Kavalam Narayana Panikker inaugurating a seminar on Mohiniyattam. Just as his stature as the theatre icon of Malayalam, Kavalam Narayana Panikker's contribution in promoting Mohiniyattam is immense. He brought in a new insight into the appreciation of the art by enriching the music component with Sopanam music. Kalamandalam Sugandhi, Kalamandalam Akshara Mohandas, Jayaprabha Menon and Methil Devika will present papers on different aspects of the dance form.
After the valedictory session, Kalamandalam Rachita Ravi, who is a research scholar at Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University and has produced notable works based on character Mandodari from C.N. Sreekantan Nair's play, Gandhari from Mahabharata and Seetha from Kumaranasan's poem, will perform.