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The sinuous dance of the enchantress, this is a distinctive classical dance form of Kerala. Slow, graceful, swaying movements of the body and limbs and highly emotive eye and hand gestures are unique to this dance form.
The simple, elegant gold-filigreed dress, in pure white or ivory, is akin to the traditional attire of the women of Kerala. The origin of Mohiniyattom is rooted in Hindu mythology.
Once the ocean of milk was churned by the gods and demons to extract the elixir of life and immortality. The demons made away with this divine brew. Lord Vishnu came to the rescue of the panicky gods and assumed the female form of an amorous celestial dame Mohini.
Captivating the demons with her charms, Mohini stole the elixir from them and restored it to the gods. This dance was adopted by the Devadasi or temple dancers, hence also the name 'Dasiattam' which was very popular during the Chera reign from 9th to 12th century.
The word 'Thullal' means 'Caper' or 'to leap or jump about playfully'. This art form emerged in the eighteenth century. A solo performance combining both dance and recitation, thullal is the explication of a tale - normally drawn from the puranas, narrated in verse. Kunchan Nambiar, renowned poet of the eighteenth century, first introduced this art form. Unlike Kathakali and Koodiyattom, the humorous and satiric mode of presentation and the use of simple Malayalam language made thullal very popular among the ordinary people.