Mohiniyattam is a classical dance form of India that originated in the state of Kerala.
The dance gets its name from the word Mohini – a mythical enchantress avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu in Indian mythology, who helps the good prevail over evil by deploying her feminine powers.
Mohiniyattam depicts the feminine love in its myriad forms – carnal, devotional and maternal. As compared to other dance forms, Mohiniyattam gives more emphasis to gestural and facial acting. The mudras (hand gestures) are the same as used in Kathakali.
The costume of this classical dance includes plain white or off-white colored sari embroidered with bright golden colored brocade paired with a fitted blouse. Below this is a golden belt, which tucks in the end of the saree. In front of the saree, there is a pleated sheet with concentric bands in golden color, which allows freedom of movement. The pleats also assist in visually communicating the mudra to distant spectators.