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An Evening of Mohiniyattam
As a male Mohiniyattam practitioner the artiste is often asked, “Why did you choose a female dance form?”, “How can you imbibe lasya (grace) in your body?”, “How can you portray the nayikas (heroines) in a traditional padam?”, and “What do you wear on stage?”.
So everyday a male Mohiniyattam artiste needs to fight against the idea of gender binaries. Hence the body of a male Mohiniyattam dancer is a political body. The body stands against engendering of movement, and the patriarchal idea of a male body itself. So the male Mohiniyattam body on stage has the potential to shake patriarchy. Also Mohiniyattam is known for its swaying movements or circular movements. It stands against the patriarchal notion of male body, that is solid, strong, and rigid.
In this hour long performance, Amith K will be presenting the major compositions of Guru Nirmala Paniker. Especially her desi compositions that are centred around the worship of the Mother Goddess in Kerala. These compositions comprise of many specialties of Kerala including Devi worship, Ammana Aatam, Panthattam (traditional games). She also derived inspiration from many folk art forms of Kerala like Kurathi aatam, Theyyam, Mudiyattam, Thiruvathirakkali.
Amith’s repertoire for this evening includes some compositions re-choreographed by Nirmala Paniker that were avoided by revivalists of Mohiniyattam due to moral issues. She reconstructed the pieces through extensive research while proposing that these items were closely connected to the Mother Goddess worship of Kerala.
Amith K is a PhD scholar in the Department of Malayalam at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady. He is a student of Mohiniyattam under Guru Nirmala Panicker at Natanakairali situated at Irinjalakuda, Thrissur.
Amith completed his postgraduate degree from Sree Sankaracharya University and holds an MPhil degree from Madras University. His areas of interest are political philosophy, poetry, and dance studies.