Mohiniyattam, is one of the eight classical dances of India that developed and remained popular in the state of Kerala. Kathakali is another classical dance form of Kerala. Mohiniyattam dance gets its name from the word Mohini – a mythical enchantress avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, who helps the good prevail over evil by developing her feminine powers.
Mohiniyattam’s roots, like all classical Indian dances, are in the Natya Shastra – the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text on performance arts. However, it follows the Lasya style described in Natya Shastra, that is a dance which is delicate, eros-filled and feminine. It is traditionally a solo dance performed by women after extensive training. The repertoire of Mohiniyattam includes music in the Carnatic style, singing and acting a play through the dance, where the recitation may be either by a separate vocalist or the dancer herself. The song is typically in Malayalam-Sanskrit hybrid called Manipravalam.