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   Mohiniattam

 

Mohiniattam, the dance from the state of Kerala, literally translates to 'Dance of the Enchantress', and is characterized by its gentle, gliding, and graceful movements. It is a feminine and fluid dance style having its roots in the 9th century. Mohiniattam got maximum patronage during the rule of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal of Travancore (1813-1846) who was himself a great composer, musician, and connoisseur of dance. It is believed that Vadivelu, one of the Tanjore Quartette brothers visited Travancore at that time and brought the format of Bharatanatyam items into Mohiniattam by introducing items such as Jathiswaram, Varnam, and Tillana into Mohiniattam. However, prior to Swathi Tirunal's period, the repertoire was remarkably different from what is being performed today. Also, Sopana Sangeetham (the kind of music that is used for accompanying Kathakali) was used - not Carnatic music, which is used today.

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