Thursday, 19 April 2012

REGARDING SOME FAKE TEACHERS!!


ഫെസ് ബുക്കില്‍ സുഹൃത്തായ ശ്രീ ദേവ് പന്നാവൂര്‍ എഴുതിയ പോസ്റ്റ്‌ കണ്ടപ്പോളാണ് ഞാന്‍ മുന്പ് ഈ കാര്യത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് ബ്ലോഗില്‍ എഴുതിയ കാര്യം ഓര്‍ത്തത്‌.  ഷെയര്‍ ചെയ്യാം എന്നുകരുതി നോക്കിയപ്പോള്‍ പ്രസ്തുത പോസ്റ്റ്‌ കാണാനില്ല. നര്തകിയില്‍,  ശ്രീ    ദേവ്  പന്നാവൂരിനെപ്പോലെ  വഞ്ചിക്കപ്പെട്ട ഒരു രക്ഷിതാവെഴുതിയ ലേഖനമായിരുന്നു അന്നെന്നെ അങ്ങിനെ ഒരു  കാര്യത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് എഴുതാന്‍ പ്രേരിപ്പിച്ചത്. ആ ലേഖനം ഒരിക്കല്‍ കൂടി   ഇവിടെ പോസ്റ്റ്‌ ചെയ്യുന്നു. 

(Courtesy: www.narthaki.com)

Regarding some fake teachers
- A concerned parent                

August 25, 2011

I had a bad experience with one of the dance teachers in USA. I don’t want to name anyone at this point. But I want to share my experience and find out if there is a way to stop such people.

My daughter took Bharatanatyam lessons from this teacher. She claimed to have learned dance from someone in Kerala. The classes went ok. But when my daughter started performing we got comments like the style, poses and the mudras were all wrong. This went on for some time, because we couldn't or didn’t know what to do. We are not from the dance background.

On our trip to India we consulted with a well known Bharatanatyam artiste in Tamil Nadu. She saw the old videos and tested my daughter and was very disappointed with her performance. Please note that my daughter was considered one of the best dancers in that USA teacher’s group – I say this with utmost humbleness, so please don’t get me wrong. We came back and asked the teacher here what style of Bharatanatyam she was teaching and she said it is Kalamandalam style. Is there even a Kalamandalam style of Bharatanatyam? Later, we asked around and knew that the teacher was teaching from video Cds and that she just has a few of years of training from Kerala. So now we realize that we have wasted four years of my daughter’s training and not to mention the money we paid. I stopped my daughter from those classes and recently found another better teacher for her - we now are blessed to find a real guru here in Carmel, IN.

But I still see parents falling prey to that fake teacher’s charm and sweet talk. Currently she has around 90 students. I also see the confused and frustrated parents after they eventually realize they have been cheated.  I feel so bad for the tiny kids who work so hard to learn something wrong.
  
Responses
This can happen in any field of studies, whether academics, music, sports, martial arts etc..
Parents, if they are to enroll their kids in any such programs should do their research properly. There are hundreds of charlatan teaching bad Indian classical dance all over the world, and that includes India itself.

Even after you expose such teachers, people will still flock to them. When you are sincere and genuine, somehow the right teachers come to you. Happy that you have now found a good teacher.
- Jai Govinda (Aug 30,  2011)

Yes, Mr. Jai Govinda is right. I will only blame the parents for not doing their homework properly. I can quote any number of teachers in USA particularly in Kuchipudi style who had either basic training or no training but claim to be student of Dr. Vempati and start Kuchipudi classes because his name sells. Added to this, some teachers from India sell their videos (for dollars) to them.

Our academy in Chennai had students from USA with the same problem what the lady had in US. One thing every parent in this type of situation should know is if the teacher had real training from the respective gurus. In our institute, every qualified student will get a certificate. Likewise every guru or institution from any other dance style should give a certificate of their training.

To tackle these kind of problems, we at Kuchipudi Art Academy, Chennai are planning to issue an authentic certificate to all our qualified students and their institutions and request them to project it in their schools so that the students/parents will know the authenticity of the teacher/institution.
- Venkat Vempati
Director Kuchipudi Art Academy, Chennai (Sept 1, 2011)

My daughter is also a victim. She learned Bharatanatyam for six years and paid up to 16000$ and in the end the teacher said she is not fit for arangetram whereas her juniors are getting it done. For arangetram she collects 25000$. Now my daughter hates Indian classic dance because of lot of cheating. We even went for 2nd opinion with a  famous Indian dancer (about my daughter's performance).
- Anonymous (Sept 8, 2011)

I thank our responders for their valuable inputs. I read the responses and I do agree that parents are responsible. As a parent, I wish I knew the right questions to ask before enrolling. We can only hope that the other parents are not as naive and actually know what they are doing. I also wish there would be some basic qualification restrictions to become a Guru in the traditional dance field.

I thank Kuchipudi Dance Academy, Chennai, for providing certificates to qualified students. That is definitely a very good start in my opinion.
- Concerned parent (Sept 11, 2011)

As a Malayalee dancer, and being raised a Christian, I can understand how parents can be misled by 'fake teachers.' I can imagine that my parents would not even know where to begin 'researching' since they know very little about the art. However, one skill that most everyone has is the ability to recognize bad dancing. If you are a parent and are looking for a teacher for your son or daughter, one of the best things to do (aside from the obvious - researching online and by word of mouth) is to attend at least 2 arangetrams from a particular teacher. You will see for yourself, very quickly, how a student dances after 10 or so years in a particular school.
Good luck! (Oct 6, 2011)

This is not the parents' fault. Obviously 'Concerned Parent' had no idea what constitutes a good dance teacher, or good dancing. They went by whichever teacher was most popular, and as we can see now, popularity doesn't always determine authenticity. And that's not their fault. The fault lies with that 'fake teacher.'

Jai Govinda is incorrect when he compares Bharatanatyam to any other field. Academic schools are certified and accredited to teach certain materials. Sports have associations and rankings. Bharatanatyam doesn't have that organization.

One solution would be to have an independent, non profit organization to regularly review and rank schools and gurus of a particular area.

Another solution would be for these 'concerned parents' to give their own opinions on gurus and schools on websites like Narthaki or Rasikas.org. I'm quite disappointed that this 'concerned parent' refused to name names. How will potential students know to avoid that guru? They are really doing a disservice to Bharatanatyam by not publicly pointing out these 'fake teachers.'
- Anonymous (Dec 31, 2011)
Click here to read the original article in www.narthaki.com
http://www.narthaki.com/info/rt/rt44.html

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Issues concerning Mohiniyattam , points by Prof GS Paul, GS Rajan Mythili Anoop, Anirudha Varma and others - Courtesy Lasyatarangini@facebook


Prof. George S Paul

I’d like to share some of my recent observations with the dance fraternity:It was a fascinating experience to be associated with two Dance projects in the month of March 2012 – ’Suddha Nritta in Classical dance forms’ in Thrissur and ’60 Years of Mohiniyattam’ in Ramamangalam. As someone associated with dance Festivals/ Seminars/Workshops in various capacities of a Director/Resource Person/Moderator/Journalist over the past 25 years, I have to admit that this is really a period of resurgence. There is a wealth of young talents who have taken to dance on a professional level, more so in Mohiniyattam. The surging enthusiasm on their part is really inspiring. Gone are the days when the delegates had to be coaxed to ask questions during the interaction sessions. Absence of prejudice and ego among the younger generation is auspicious for the dance form. For, they alone can address the problems judiciously. Needless to mention that Suddha Nritta is the stamp of individuality of a dance form. But Mohiniyattam leaves much to be desired in this. Most of the performers anchor on abhinaya for eliciting applause from the audience. In the absence of proper standardization of its rudimentary parameters, sky seems to be the limit for the variants. The need for summarizing the contributions of each individual is more felt nowadays than ever. Only an institution of authority ( not an individual) can do this; and that institution is Kerala Kalamandalam. On the flip side, introduction of Mohiniyattam as a discipline in the universities/Colleges does not augur well for the dance form. Being just diploma mills, the courses in these institutions just prepare the students to get through the examination to qualify for the degree. (Here, Kalamandalam alone seems to be an exception). And that is the obsession of the student too. This is counterproductive. Moreover, the faculty in these institutions cannot motivate them, ignorant as they are about the new developments in the terpsichorean arts.Ramamangalam is situated in Ernakulam district within a distance of 15 to 20 km from two such institutions offering degree, post-graduate and Ph D courses in Mohiniyattam. Not even a single student or staff from them turned up for the seminar on ’60 Years of Mohiniyattam’ on March 18 (notwithstanding all the provocations like Certificate, no registration fee and food). Perhaps, the situation may change after new blood will be infused to the faculty, may be in another ten or fifteen years.

Rajan G Srikrishnan 
The entire stage presentation needs to be revived. For a common man Mohiniattam means same speed or 'sme thing' from beginning to end and he or she may enjoy it for the 15 minutes because of beautiful costumes. (I am referring to new audience and not that experts or performers). Without innovation and experimentation any tradition can become stagnant. Restructuring repertoire, bring in texts from various languages, add new movements and make the chollukettus in order and also with variations. All these can be done without forsaking the basics of Mohiniattam. We need more brains like Neena Prasad to do all these and market the new look Mohiniattam, worldwide. Both artistic and financial satisfaction will be yours .

I am neutral and my intention/comments is only to bring Mohiniattam at par with other successful Indian classical dance forms Internationally. I have had the opportunity to discuss on these lines with some senior festival directors (who has been visiting India for 25 years) and my comments above came from my casual discussions with these veterans. They too felt the need to incorporate changes especially in music, pace of different items and to bring in new repertoire in other languages too (like Bharata Natyam dancers have added Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, Sufi etc. etc.) which will appeal to many. Let us don't restrict Mohiniattam to Kerala or South India. Of course there are successful dancers and teachers of Mohiniattam worldwide. But how many Mohiniattam dancers gets featured in International Dance festivals? In nutshell: My suggestions/Comments only refer to placing Mohiniattam at par with Bharata Natyam /Odissi in the International circuit.

Mythili Anoop

I do agree with some of the things Mr.Paul says. I have a few bones to pick as well. Firstly, as a student of Mohiniattam, and somebody who has been trying to write and think about it criticallyl, the one thing I wish there was more of is the freedom to innovate and experiment. I realize innovations can be extreme sometimes, so extreme that they collapse the system. In my view, for every aesthetic practice to be precisely that, a 'practice', there is a need for the simultaneous existence of a system of rules, and the scope for creativity, and there will be rule-breaking. Rrules are not sacrosanct, though people speak of them as if they are, but artificial. There has always been rule-breaking, and without challenging/ questioning of tradition, art will become a mere artifact, a relic of the past, and not something vital. I think we should be more tolerant, sympathetic, and supportive (or is that too much to ask for) of innovations. ALl innovations may not be successfull. But that is why we have learned critics and connoisseurs who have the right to evaluate. Secondly, there is a need to understand what institutions that offer degrees and diplomas seek to achieve. Every student of English literature does not go on to write a ward-winining book. But, I think, the minimum that can be expected is for the students to achieve a certain level of comprehension of the dance, for the classical dances require an informed/ trained audience. Others just miss the whole point, after the initial fascination with the costume! Such institutions are important, in my view, in creating a wider base of audiences for the classical arts. While, it has its own problems, it is also possible to overcome some of the drawbacks of the traditional forms of learning, through proper systematization and freer access to knowledge.

Aniruddha Varma I have a difference of opinion here. You may ignore this as an ordinary layman's perception. But, I must write my point here because I feel, the Mohiniattam dancers tend to be carried away by the seemingly perceived lack of interest that the audiences exhibit towards Mohiniattam as compared to the other dance forms like Bharathanatyam etc. In your enthusiasm to 'take this art forward' 'against all odds', if you decide to compromise on the quality of the performance and try to experiment more on the other important aspects, I am afraid such efforts could become counter-productive. I am of the stern opinion that people who come to appreciate a Mohiniattam performance do not come there to see what all changes/experiments you are going to try there. They may, in effect, try to see how far you have NOT deviated from the basics of the art and how systematic and correct your practice sessions were which can be judged from the performance itself. In essence, I would request the dancing students and maestros of this great art to continue to show more application and devotion to the practice sessions, which alone can take you and this great art to still greater heights of glory and fame.

Some Comments to this Topic.

Supriya Rajan 
Have put the comments in a doc for easy reading so that we can have more comments and try to have more clarity on the issues. Thank you. Would like to draw the attention of Dr Neena Prasad, Pallavi Krishnan Mad'me, Shyamala Surendran Mad'me,Smitha Rajan Mad'me, Vijaya Lakshmi, Gopika Varma Mad'me,Jayaprabha Menon mad'me, Sunanda Nair mad'me, Methil Devika Mad'em, and others to this.
Anu Samrat 
It is rather unfortunate that he says: " In the absence of proper standardization of its rudimentary parameters....". The Mohiniattam that I have been learning and have been exposed to, from my guru Smitha Rajan , has very clearly laid out parameters on all aspects of a dance form - there is no ambiguity. All this is as learnt from her grandmother Kalamandalam Kalyanikuttiamma, someone who immersed herself in Mohiniattam.
Sapna Govindan 
maybe what he means is that the basic adavus differ in the different "banis" if we can call them that?
Anu Samrat 
Hmmm, then maybe it is time for the dancers to arrive at some agreement about the basic adavus! This will be very difficult, to put it mildly, but it must be done! There are so many different Bharatnatyam bANis for instance, but there seems to be some common adavus to all which are almost similar and unmistakably Bharatanatyam!
Sapna Govindan 
I feel that George Paul sir's comment on the incorporation of more nritta especially while performing in front of an uninitiated audience requires some thinking. Appreciation of satvika abhinaya needs more knowledge on the rasika's part and elaboration of such abhinaya requires maturity and learning on the dancer's part. But then again, some of the recent criticism on bharatanatyam seems to be that there is excessive stress on nritta to the detriment of abhinaya.
Appan Varma  
I am at loss to understand what is needed now.many want to make with more Nritya while i feel it should be left to its lasya form FULLY.Had seen most of the yester year artists who were all great in lasya. the facial expression and the sensua... Sapna Govindan ‎
Aniruddha Varma ji..I think we are running in circles now! What you just stated is what I meant when I said classical dances are not for everyone! Yes..Bharatanatyam and Odissi also bore some people...but what I have seen both inside and outside India is that more people are cognizant (and hence more open to) of these forms than mohiniyattam. That needs to change.
Priya Lasya 
nice presentation of views from sri george. those that speak of universities, that speak about need for institutes are quite apt. one may have a new dimension of thought with another perspective. summarizing on this issue for posting the views soon.
Aniruddha Varma
Sapna Govindan ji, I too share your concern that perhaps, we are running in circles. But, that will soon change when a clear direction will emerge soon with the participation of all your colleagues and well-wishers of this great art form. Here, you have embarked upon a very optimistic and positive journey. With some more active participation from the seniors also, I am sure that a clear path will be visible soon. But, first things first, I request you to impress upon all your colleagues in this great art not to compromise on the practice sessions at all and to go ahead in the 'sarani' which your Gurus have cleared for you.  


Supriya Rajan  
Aniruddha Varma sir, evaluation about the status of Mohiniyattam is a natural process in the propagation of the dance form. So, it doesnt mean Mohiniyattam is having any serious issues. It is like servicing ur car... it is mandatory whether or not there is any damage or problem and while servicing when the mechanics find out that certain things need to be done in order to have a better mileage and better performance u do take necessary actions. So similarly when critics and organisers and even audience give u a feedback that something need to be done to improve the aesthetic appeal of the dance form, as dancers we need to take necessary steps in the best possible way.  


Aniruddha Varma 
Well said, Supriya Rajan ji. I agree with you on this point. But my only request to all of you here is not to feel disappointed or dejected when you feel that rasika interest does not seem to grow as much as you would want. That will come naturally when the performances are world-class, no doubt about that. It is only with this in view that I am constantly advocating for stricter and most regular practice sessions.


Supriya Rajan 
‎Aniruddha Varma ji and i too agree with u on this point.. :)


Dev Pannavoor 
Very good discussion going on and its really nice to note the comments from the inmates of this group....These suggestions are precious and must be taken seriously....Would love to hear from many senior artists in this group also in this regard...But unfortunately as a listener, i feel that no senior artists are interested to make their points here....It should not be like that...:):)


Akhila Gopinath  
‎"In the absence of proper standardization of its rudimentary parameters, sky seems to be the limit for the variants. The need for summarizing the contributions of each individual is more felt nowadays than ever. Only an institution of authority (not an individual) can do this; and that institution is Kerala Kalamandalam". Am a student who associated with two Dance projects in the month of March 2012 – ’Suddha Nritta in Classical dance forms’ in Thrissur and ’60 Years of Mohiniyattam’ in Ramamangalam. While attending the workshops and seminars on Indian Classical Dances.., As a Mohiniyattom performer I too felt the lack of this “Standardization”. In such Lecture Demonstrations and all, all the artistes will surely demonstrate something about the basics of their art forms. In Bharathanatyam sessions, I noticed the exercises, Basic Adavus, Charis, and Repertoire items etc… in a special manner. I never had seen any conflicts among the Guru’s in these Basic things. Even if they posses different Banis like Pandanallur, Kalakshethra, Mysore etc..., Their Basic and Frames are Standardized in one line. (Am saying about the Basic Structure) I felt the strong roots among them. And that strong seed itself is the reason for the perfect development and creative production with in their parameters of those art forms…And they are creating their own individuality through the art forms. But here each individual are creating their own things and Naming as “MOHINIYATTOM” I never witnessed such uniformity in the Basic frame works of Mohiniyattom. In Mohiniyattom each and every Renowned Guru will teach their disciples with their own Parameters. These disciples are again teaching other ten.. …As I am a student, I really felt bad about this. We have to think about our art form…Not only about our personnel Fame...We need a generally accepted Standardization of the rudimentary parameters. Paul Sir always used to say ….”NEXT GEN” CAN DO THIS, IF THEY SIT AROUND A TABLE…., BECAUSE THEY HAVE A HEART TO ACCEPT THE POSITIVE QUALITIES & DO APPRECIATE EACH OTHER….AND ALSO TO RECTIFY.. Anu Samrat  


Akhila Gopinath
well said! That is the topic of this thread (and not about modifying things to suit the rasika or changing anything, for that matter). We will have to work out a way to standardize Mohiniattam adavus, to begin with. While we do not have to follow the path taken by, say, Odissi, or Bharatanatyam, or Kathakali, it might be worthwhile to look at how they have evovled at some common, basic characteristics which are unmistakably true for every bANi within that form.  
Priya Lasya 
i remember seeing here / somewhere about kathakali being made a show-piece for a few hours with all its popularity world-wide. now, that is something that pains (but true!). i have a question on this discussion- simple one- and also after i read lot of comments in different forum- "traditional kerala arts, lasyatarangini....can i ask?


Anu Samrat 
Sure, what is your question?


Akhila Gopinath 
‎Anu Samrat....we have to discuss about this...But here its being deviated to the performance level....
Anu Samrat  
‎Akhila Gopinath yes, I have been mulling over this - about the standardization of the basic parameters (adavus). I am only coming up with more questions than answers! How does a classical dance form evolve? What IS classical, first?! Who are the people who carry on the tradition? I would be interested to hear from Shyamhari Chakra on how the various bANis of Odissi have a common thread, as Odissi too has been revived rather recently. Priya Lasya 
when we speak of spreading the art, is it entirely due to our connection with that particular dance form ONLY? so those from Orissa pitch for odissi, those from ap for kuchipudi.., mohiniattam by those from kerala, so on.. ? all of us have adopted english :)


Sapna Govindan 
‎Priya Lasya not all of us who discuss here are from Kerala:) I think it is a personal preference rather than a regional issue.


Priya Lasya 
goes beyond (obviously personal preference)- say like - something very special in the connect that we make, perhaps.Sapna Govindan thank you for the quick response, that also makes certain things quite perceptible for the goal


Sapna Govindan  
Deviations are inherent in discussions..we only have to bring them back to the main thread. In fact, some deviations might open our minds to some things new. Anyway, anyone who seriously thinks about indian classical dance would come to thequestions Anu Samrat just asked. Different banis have been established by people who have done independent research into mohiniyattam especially because there was no established, traditional form of mohiniyattam at that time. What we see now is pretty recent indeed. So who will standardize and how? What can be included and what not? Like George Paul sir said, the established institutions and experts must think together.  


Anu Samrat ‎
Sapna Govindan, what is the material//who are the people available for such "research" as you have mentioned? Where does one begin? From one's guru? Where does the guru begin? Is it an unbroken tradition?


Appan Varma 
Sapna Govind,it may be a personal prefernce but the language base is very imp. to a non trained viewer.i enjoy B.natyam ,Kuchuppidi and Mohini Aattom better than a Odissi or Manipuri dnce as i follow the meaning of the song.


Priya Lasya ‎
Appan Varma exactly!


Anu Samrat ‎
Appan Varma ji, dance (and music) transcends language, in my opinion. The level of appreciation will depend on how well one understands the language, but no one can miss the beauty and depth of a well done dance or music piece.


Sapna Govindan
Appan Varma sir, Priya Lasya sorry about making a brief response albeit quick! Aren't preferences shaped by all these same factors - cultural, linguistic - but I also feel thet some preferences tend to happen despite these factors. I am a malayali who learnt and loves mohiniyattam but odissi is also a form I love watching and would have learnt in different circumstances. Maybe because of the lyrical quality of both forms...so i feel it is a complex interaction of different factors!  


Priya Lasya 
‎Sapna Govindan when we want an art form to spread- we need to look at more than "chance factors"


Supriya Rajan  
Appreciate all your effort to ponder over the topic. I think this is a topic which needs in-depth study. We may not be able to come to any conclusion nor any serious solution. But my feeling is that probably we can put down recommendations which the authorities can refer to among others. So let us steer the discussion in that direction, what say? let us go back to the comments already posted in the document (the main post of this discussion) and address each of the concerns mentioned in it.  


Sapna Govindan 
‎Priya Lasya sorry didnt quite understand that.Supriya Rajan you are quite a good moderator:)


Supriya Rajan
Thank you Sapna Govindan. I think Priya Lasya was trying to say that it is Keralites who take up Mohiniyattam because of the proximity to the dance form which happens by chance. But what she is probably saying is that we need to look at the dance form with an universal eye and not regional eye. perhaps... !!! is that so Priya Lasya??


Aniruddha Varma 
I liked your point here, Supriya Rajan ji. When the discussions tend to go hither and thither, somebody should be available here like a Traffic Police to give the thread a logical direction. You are doing that and please do keep it up.


Aniruddha Varma ‎
Supriya Rajan ji, I meant your comment just above this one, beginning with "Appreciate all your effort to ponder over the topic..............."


Supriya Rajan  
Now coming to the discussion the first point that Prof GS Paul sir said is the dominance of Abhinaya in realtion to Nritta aspect in Mohiniyattam recitals. I think here each dancer can address to this issue themselves by taking care of the right mixture. Personally i feel the nritta aspect of Mohiniyattam is a strength which we can take leverage upon. Because the movements are so graceful and beautiful. I think we can do wonders with the nritta aspect if we give more attention and prominence. I think i need to mention, the youth icon of Mohiniyattam; Vijaya Lakshmi for her work on Movements. 
Sapna Govindan, may i ask u to take us to the next issue?  


Aniruddha Varma 
Come on, you have an audience waiting.


Supriya Rajan 
Ha ha ha Aniruddha Varma ji.


Aniruddha Varma ‎
Supriya Rajan ji, I am very serious. I did not post this here as a joke at all. I am eagerly waiting to see and read the next posts.


Supriya Rajan 
‎Sapna Govindan, standardisation of the structure and other major parameters?


Supriya Rajan 
Apart from basic exercises, adavus, maybe we need to consider the music, format of a recital etc.... !!!


Supriya Rajan 
Let us wait for some comments on this before we move to the next topic.


Sapna Govindan 
Sorry folks..will catch up soon with this discussion. Just too held up at work right now! Look forward to all the input.
Rajan G Srikrishnan 
there is this book 'triveni' published in 1969... with information on Mohiniattam. I lost this old book. If you have a copy, please scan and upload relevant portions...


Supriya Rajan ‎Mani G Marar.......!!!


Sapna Govindan 
‎Supriya Rajan on the first point, the nrtta aspect of mohiniyattam is probably underutilized. It is so beautiful! It is the nrtta which creates the immedietely obvious character of a dance form, even though abhinaya aspects also vary. That brings us to standardization starting with the nrtta ( exercises,adavus) and moving on to music , repertoire etc. An overarching identity is necessary but how feasible is it to accomplish? Sapna Govindan 
I wish we had input from experts..!


Deepa Chakravarthy 
People just don't expect everything is happen immediately - everything is being heard - everyone is thinking - but for any change to happen you must wait. Patience they say is the mother of all virtues :-) Give time! Sleep on it, as they say!


Appan Varma 
these days Kshemavathy is not seen in the T'bady temple.(may be because of the difference in timing) shall ask her on the Nritya aspect and post as soon as i meet her.


Narayanan Mothalakottam 
As Rajan G Srikrishnan says "Let us don't restrict Mohiniattam to Kerala or South India. Of course there are successful dancers and teachers of Mohiniattam worldwide". I agree, but how many non-Indians are learning mohiniyattam worldwide? Most of the students learning from them belong to South India, I heard so. His another point was "But how many Mohiniattam dancers gets featured in International Dance festivals?" there come the requirement of marketing. Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak etc. are all marketed well. In the international dance fest and all the organisers want only "some" Indian classical dance form, where better marketed dance get its place. I have a feeling that even Kalamandalam could not market mohiniyattam to the position as it really desires, probably under the influence of Kathakali.


Appan Varma 
Kalamandalam did not market Mohini Aattam as it grew strongl only after the institute developed Kathakali troupes.Sponsors were also rare for Mohinaattom as against for Bharatha Natyam .


Narayanan Mothalakottam 
Now a days Institutions / University are offering courses only to have the students Degrees.. Its the same with any subject. Very rarely we find students excel in their respective fields because of the Universities, so the case with arts also weather it is music, dance etc. etc. Again Institutions like Kalamandalam could offer much more in this field at least opening regional centres, as a 1st step in Kerala, then all over India. We can't expect anything more from Universities & other institutions from offering BA, MA or even PhDs and not much from the students from those institutions as well.


Appan Varma 
Muthgalakkoottam is right.Let us ask the govt and Kalamndalam uni. to start centres at the three music accadamies of TVM.TPNA and Palakkad early


Narayanan Mothalakottam ‎
Mythili Anoop, First the students should have strong base, as its the case of any art or science. if they have strong foundation then further structures could be built over that. If the foundation is not very strong it could collapse at any point of time. That's what the innovations or interpretations could face the challenge. Another chance that unless the persons know the boundaries within the foundation exactly, there is always a chance for over stepping, which could leads to fall... Where exactly Aniruddha Varma ji also raised concern. If the base is not very strong and the boundaries are well defined & known, any improvisation could lead to failures. Where dedication, devotion, application whatever you call, could come for a support as required. Aniruddha Varma I am really glad to see that Mohiniattam has begun to transcend the barriers of language, boundaries of nations, and even those of the seven seas. A recent post in this group from a few Japanese dancers who feel proud to be Mohiniattam dancers has really filled my mind. If Japanese dancers could find an interest in this great art which is now considered more of Kerala origin than anything else, I am sure that the time is not far when this would be appreciated throughout India at least. For this, concerted action from our all our talented artistes is a must.



Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Again... Sharing you with a serious discussion on Mohiniyattam that is taking place in Facebook!


    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi മദ്ധ്യകേരളത്തിലെ തൃശ്ശൂരില്‍ ആണ് ഏകദേശം രണ്ടു പതിറ്റാണ്ടായി താമസമെങ്കിലും, മലയാളിയല്ല പല്ലവി കൃഷ്ണന്‍ (പോംപി ആചാര്യ) എന്ന മോഹിനിയാട്ടം നര്‍ത്തകി. ഇന്നത്തെ ബംഗ്ലാദേശില്‍ വേരുകള്‍ ഉള്ള, പിന്നീട് പശ്ചിമ ബംഗാളിലെ ദുര്‍ഗാപൂരിലേക്ക് ചേക്കേറിയ കുടുംബക്കാരിയാണ്. (അച്ഛനമ്മമാര്‍ അടുത്തിടയായി കല്‍ക്കത്തയില്‍.)

      വിവാഹം കഴിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളത്‌ കണ്ണൂര്‍ ചൊവ്വ സ്വദേശി കെ കെ ഗോപാലകൃഷ്ണന്‍ എന്ന കലാനിരൂപകനെ. ഒരു മകള്‍ ഹൈസ്കൂള്‍ വിദ്യാര്‍ഥിനി. ഇത്രയും വ്യക്തിപരം.
      Yesterday at 9:45am ·  ·  5
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi വിഷയം അതല്ല: ആദ്യം ബംഗാളിലെ ശാന്തിനികേതനില്‍ കഥകളിയും പിന്നീട് ചെറുതുരുത്തിയിലെ കലാമണ്ഡലത്തില്‍ മോഹിനിയാട്ടവും പഠിച്ച നര്‍ത്തകി. കേരളീയ കലയായ കഥകളിയില്‍ മലയാളികള്‍ അല്ലാത്തവര്‍ പെരെടുക്കാതിരിക്കുമ്പോഴും മോഹിനിയാട്ടത്തില്‍ ആ പ്രശ്നം വരുന്നില്ല. മഹാരാഷ്ട്രക്കാരി കനക് രെലെ (ബോംബെ), തഞ്ചാവൂര്‍ സ്വദേശി ഭാരതി ശിവാജി (ദല്‍ഹി), അവരുടെ പുത്രി വിജയലക്ഷ്മി...

      മലയാളി അല്ലാത്തവര്‍ക്ക് മോഹിനിയാട്ടം പഠിക്കാനും ആ കലയില്‍ തെളിയാനും വിശേഷിച്ച് ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടുകള്‍ ഉണ്ടോ? ഉണ്ടെങ്കില്‍ എന്തെല്ലാം?

      ചര്‍ച്ച വരും എന്ന് പ്രതീക്ഷിക്കുന്നു.
      Yesterday at 9:46am ·  ·  8
    • Nikhil Kaplingat കഥകളിയില്‍ പ്രോബല്‍ ഗുപ്തയുടെ പേര്‍ അടുത്ത കാലത്ത് കുറച്ചു കേട്ടു തുടങ്ങിയിരിക്കുന്നു.

      http://www.narthaki.com/info/rev11/rev991.html 
      Yesterday at 9:57am ·  ·  3
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi For a broader invitation to the subject, Pallavi Krishnan is one of the very few non-Malayali artistes to have gained name in the Kerala dance form, Mohiniyattam. Is/are there any particular reason(s) to it? We invite discussion from members of this Group.
      Yesterday at 10:00am ·  ·  1
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi Maybe the couple can themselves share their views: Pallavi KrishnanK.k. Gopala Krishnan. :-)
      Yesterday at 10:05am ·  ·  3
    • Dev Pannavoor Sunanda Nair Supriya Rajan also please share your views..
      Yesterday at 10:10am ·  ·  1
    • Supriya Rajan Sreevalsan Thiyyadi sir, to reflect more from your post in Malayalam, let me add a few more lines... "while kathakali and other traditional performing art forms of Kerla doesnt witness many non keralites becoming proficient in them, Mohiniyattam, has seen many exponents from outside kerala who have contributed to its propogation. Are there any hurdles that dancers from outside Kerala face while trying to learn the Kerala dance form of Mohiniyattam? This is a question open to Mohiniyattam artistes to share this larger perspective.
      Yesterday at 10:23am ·  ·  4
    • Dev Pannavoor Sangeetha S Sangeetha Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath please share views....:)
      Yesterday at 10:28am · 
    • K.k. Gopala Krishnan Sreevalsan, it shows the growth of Mohiniyattam after a long stagnation for several reasons. Additionally what I feel (personally) is that in general Bengalies commitments to arts are relatively at a higher level, they give professional status to it.

      Without prejudice let me also add: Being a non Keralite taking up Mohiniyattam and living in Kerala itself and doing a lot of programmes within the state too, initially Pallavi faced a lot of 'politics' and in fact that resulted in boosting her commitment - her reciprocation was through practices, new choreographies and performances completely ignoring such forces. Fortunately or unfortunately, being a writer on arts, people who don’t like me for their personal and artistic reasons too turned as her foe!

      When Kerala girls and most of the dancers, even known Mohiniyattam Gurus, were lavishly practicing all the three south Indian dance styles and talking about purity of Mohiniyattam she bothered to choose only one form and stick to it – learned from Kerala Kalamandalam, Bharati Shivaji, Kalamandalam Sughandhi, etc….. During the last three decades how many Mohiniyattam dancers trained from the Kerala Kalamandalam got a place in the national and international performance circuit is also another question.
      Yesterday at 10:39am ·  ·  5
    • Supriya Rajan I want to say that Pallavi Krishnan was my inspiration to take up Mohiniyattam, after seeing one of her interviews on TV and i had approached her and she was very kind and helpful.
      Yesterday at 10:44am ·  ·  1
    • Sangeetha S Sangeetha Yes Mr. Dev my views are like this…



      Mr. Gopalakrishnan is true it is very difficult to hold on to an art especially an artist outside Kerala. I read once about the hardships Ms. Pallavi has gone through during her early days.

      But one thing is there if an artist is sincere and hardworking with their art then God will reach us where we have to reach despite of the criticisms and politics around.



      One thing about my view about the Guru’s (not everyone some of them) within Kerala ( I have only communicated with them) is that they restrict themselves in many aspects.

      I have even come across with some strange experiences. There are Gurus who think that once they acknowledge one disciple then the others feel bad and so they do not acknowledge. This is one strange experience which I faced when I approached my Guru to give me a letter when I wanted to apply for the first government festival. I told her if my request is going to affect her, I do not want the letter and I applied without that and by God’s grace I got that beautiful festival in Karnataka and I could perform very well and that was my beginning from then I started performing in lot of festivals organized by the Karnataka Government.



      The above one is one of my experience. But all those bitter and nice experiences actually has given the confidence to go ahead in my artistic life and gives me the courage to do more things.



      During my journey in life I have learnt that a person should motivate themselves and should aim big and work hard.



      Hard work will yield fruit one day, only thing is one should have the patience to wait for that. Things will happen in God’s Own Time Trust this move ahead.



      With sincere regards,

      Sangeetha

      Head – Marketing & Business Development



      LOVE NATURE! ITS GOD’S GIFT TO EACH OF US!!
      Yesterday at 1:29pm via  ·  ·  7
    • Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath To answer you and because you asked for my opinion. Firstly, I must tell you that although I understand Malayalam orally, I do not read it. Also, I miss the beginning of the conversation. So I do not know if my views will be objective ... But I think that from the moment you practice a dance or any art form, whatever it is, wherever it comes from , we must work with devotion. Both in relation to the work towards our Guru who use the same devotion to teach you and send you a sacred and ancient art, it is not worthwhile to ask the question of legitimacy to dance and promote practical artistic. What matters is the sincerity that one brings to his practice and is not to betray the culture from which it comes. I was lucky, and I m still lucky and I hope I will be for a long time (because we must never stop learning, and I hope to continue my training again, until the last breath of my Guru, where such is her wish) to have received a traditional teachings and which, in addition to the artistic dimension, made me aware of the world and universe around us through every gesture, expression and intention of this dance. I spent a lot of time in Kerala (I married a Keralite, years ago) , also, during ten years, and...I could understand the Univers where is from Mohiniyattam. I needed it to understand Mohiniyattam, because besides the fact that it is an art form, it is also an ambassador art of Kerala, inspired by Keralite culture, Keralite landscapes and nature....So I needed, also, to understand Kerala! and it is also all those keralite cultural parameters that we are translating in Mohiniyattam dance. To learn Mohiniyattam is to learn Kerala. I learned also to love Kerala in practicing Mohiniyattam. I think Mohiniyattam dance was an important vector, also, for me to understand Kerala and its culture. For me, to dance is like a prayer. Concerning the words of Mister K.k. Gopala Krishnan, I believe to compare Bengali approach of art and Keralite approach of art is very interesting. The past and the History of both of those states are differents, but similare in some sides...as to its politic, as for the efforts that poets have committed to restoring dignity to the dance and the arts froms like Vallatol or Tagore. And we must not remember that , it was a time, when, Tagore came in Kerala with the wish and the conscious to encourage to preserve the cultural and artistique heritage of Kerala, He insisted on Mohiniyattam! He was right..To export Mohiniyattam is also to export Keralite Culture. It is a vehicle of this culture. Why not, but it has to be done with sincerity and concsious about what is Kerala and what is from Mohiniyattam, including the spiritual dimension of this dance ...and a lot of work to be honest in the practice..
      Yesterday at 2:27pm ·  ·  6
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi Thanks for the response, Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath

      Just to point out a piece of irony, and then a request to elaborate a point that has come as a passing reference in your detailed comment.

      First thing first. Rabindranath Tagore, as you say, insisted on Mohiniyattam (long time ago), but his Santiniketan is yet to have a department that teaches this Kerala performing art.

      Well, the spiritual dimension of any art evokes curiosity among its buffs. More so in the case of Mohiniyattam, which was known for long as the dance of the seductress. Could you please elaborate on the point. Leisurely....

      Thanks.
      Yesterday at 9:32pm ·  ·  4
    • Nanditha Prabhu When there was a cultural resurgence, and a need for revival of arts, in the early and mid-20th century, it was not limited to any particular area, but was a pan Indian phenomenon. The creative energies of many stalwarts crossed boundaries and established centres of arts like Shantiniketan, Kalamandalam and Kalakshetra.
      When the hunt was on for spotting the first Guru for Mohiniyattam, Mahakavi Vallathol found O.Kalyaniyamma. When Rabindranath Tagore, visited Kalamandalam, he surely would have been enchanted by the graceful Mohiniyattam. When the poet Laureate returned back to his Abode of peace, he carried with him the most eligible Mohiniyattam Guru then, O. Kalyaniyamma, thus planting the roots of the art form in a land that was far away geographically but with a common cultural acumen.
      The segregation of art forms and languages in our head today, was not the same in ancient times. Even the world of theatre had not a single play with one language. The colonial attitude of dividing land and people was never an Indian way. Even though the language of Mohiniyattam seems very different to the lay spectator, a sensitive artist can see the unity it has with all the other art forms of its land of origin, Bharatavarsha.

      Mohiniyattam can only be performed by a Malayalee , I think, is a myth. If you have the heart for art, and a love for it, and if you are blessed with a great Guru, and the urge to learn never dies, then what can stop you from going deeper into any art form?

      My mother, Kalamandalam Sugandhi being a Konkani speaking Gauda Saraswat Brahmin from an orthodox family, and being the first to take up dancing as a career, could make a mark of her own with her sheer determination and dedication and sincerity to art. So the question of being a Malayalee is surely not the primary criterion for the art.
      22 hours ago ·  ·  4
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi Just in case the trigger point in this post has given a wrong impression, the question was not judgmental, but simply innocent: Does a non-Malayali face extra hardships in learning/mastering a Kerala performing art that is Mohiniyattam. (One point that still remains rather unaddressed in this whole thread is the language barrier -- if at all 'barrier' is the apt word.)
      22 hours ago ·  ·  3
    • Shruthi Kp hi all: its art, art has no such borders... how many understand sanskrit or speak it before dancing it? how many know the science behind colors as they paint it. culture and emotions is pan india only expression and communication differ, but when we r narrating the same story, same emotion how does it matter what language or culture we come from? now, its not just region based culture but also time based. there is modern, conventional, urban, rural cuture... but when it comes to dance, nothing matters but the way a dancer performs and dances thats all!!:) na i dont think anybody feels hard to learn any art form unless its been imposed on them. and how well they absorb the form depends on gift n practice. n mohiniyattam is not rocket science. its art...u feel it in u u can do it. u dont feel it, u cant perform it no matter how much malayalee or non malayalee, intelligent or artistic u r.
      9 hours ago ·  ·  3
    • Shruthi Kp i i wrote post samanvesh 2012, its a look into the progress in mohiniattam by thinking outside the box.
      9 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Shruthi Kp Crossing borders
      Time. Truth. Change
      All of the above have varied dimensions and perspective. Perhaps, this is
      is the reason why everything in our world is constant and yet it
      is not.
      Art ,being the greatest mystery of all, relies more on creativity than
      logic , on heart more than on mind. But it cannot be completely removed
      from the mind either. This is the universal truth, whether it is art on paper, canvas or stage. I have always believed that the responsibility of an artist is not to let tradition stagnant but let it evolve. And this requires intelligent artists.

      Mohiniattam when seen in all is an atom in the universe of art.
      The reason for it being in darkness is that the majority of art purists seem to be unfortunately in this field. At
      times, intellectuals forget the base of Mohiniattam, that it is dance and then it
      becomes a classical subject of study. One artist, connoisseur in every generation has created innovations that have evolved the dance. But many of their generation have criticized the step and hence, let the art stagnant for years. Let us not forget that when Poet Vallthol wanted to introduce the art in Kalamandalam, there were hardly any takers. Until Krishnan Panikker, Kalyanikutti Amma, Shanta Rao came into light.
      Mohiniattam is an age old dance of Kerala and one of the most beautiful
      dance forms. Its swaying movements are ever graceful and subtle. It became a study of interest at the
      Kalamandalam in 1930 and was further modified to fit the title ‘classical dance form of Kerala’.
      After its revival, Mohiniattam has come a long way. If one were to watch a documentary on Shanta Rao or hear and read descriptions of the old versions of Mohiniattam, one would hardly see any similarity between the past and present. Once known as the poor cousin of Bharatanatyam, the reason for Mohiniattam to develop its individualistic streak is artists who dared to take it beyond the borders to a new audience. Artists, who crossed the borders of the land, dared to expand the limits of the form by exploring literature and movement thus adhering to a foreign audience. They dared to break the rigidity of performance and the purist thought. Thus, they are hailed and condemned for their theories. Art is not just of entertainment , it is also for thinking. It is intellectual
      enjoyment, one needs to create to love it .
      One creates for not only external satisfaction but also for internal.


      . The most celebrated name among all is Padmashri Bharathi Shivaji, whose continuous rigorous work for past decades established Mohiniattam on international arena as a lasya form. Individualistic and innovative, she discovered a new idiom of Mohiniattam by experimenting with movements of other Kerala traditional arts. As a result, her movements, though within the norms, looked vibrantly graceful as compared to
      repetitive repertoire of that era Bharathi Shivaji is the most known to common man. Her work has tested
      limits of Mohiniattam and resulted victorious.
      She also used visual media to make documents and films to popularise the form. A regular piece in Mohiniattam repertoire ,Jayadeva’s Astapadis, was first introduced into the form by her .

      Currently located in Delhi, the centre of the cultural hub, the Guru (along with her daughter Vijaylakshmi) continuous to evolve the dance form.
      .
      Dr. Kanak Rele , the head of Nalanada Institution of fine arts in Mumbai approached the art academically and also initiated Mumbai university to introduce classical dance as a subject. Dr. Kanak Rele experimented with the work from a completely different dimension. Her approach
      to her art was scientific .She is our own Laban who based her theory on the kinetic study of body and derived notations and movement. She introduced a formal Mohiniattam degree in her Nalanada Institute , Mumbai.
      The school has given the world some great Mohiniattam soloists, Sunanada Nair being one of the first.
      Both the Gurus internalised the dance form through their theories formatted and polished it over decades of research. Hence when the dance crossed borders of Kerala and the traditional frame of mind, it was recognized by the common man outside the land. Many others have formed their own styles and took the dance to a different region and expanded the limits of Mohiniattam Literature. In Karnataka, one prime example is Sreedevi Unni who through much effort brought the kannada audience closer to Mohiniattam by creating ballets performed to kannada language and choreographing within in the thought process of Karnataka tradition and culture.
      she has been the lone Mohiniattam artiste for many decades in the state.
      but does expansion of the art mean creation and innovations only? some have stayed within the region and yet evolved the traditions in their own manner. Guru Nirmala Panicker who strictly adheres to Kalyanikutti Amma’s school of Mohiniattam went reverse and
      brought back the old compositions removed from the repertoire.
      she with much hard work re choreographed 5 removed dance works which were then considered offensive ,and they are now performed by her students. The name Kavalam Narayan Panicker is synonymous with
      Mohiniattam , the one under whose tutelage many dancers became thinkers. He is the sole reason to bring a very debatable but still rooted music form: Sopanam, into Mohiniattam. Many new genres of choreographic works are introduced with sopanam music.
      There are many of the younger generation who work tirelessly to maintain the individuality of the art form.


      Today Mohiniattam has crossed Kerala to reach Japan, England and
      America. Yet, the field faces a lack of tolerance.
      there is too much of blame game happening and there is
      inability to accept a co artist’s work.
      experiment and change are
      constant and these are rules of time. However, the power of how we
      experiment and what we change lies within us. Experiments and practice of today
      become traditions of tomorrow so we need to ask ourselves …” Is it a
      intellectual responsibility that I am ready to take up?” but then again anything without content cannot stand the test of time.can it?
      9 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi Thanks for the detailed response, Shruthi Kp. Yet, I'm still not totally convinced about the first in your three-part series. Dance, no doubt, has NOTHING to do with literature. That way, like in the case of music, language is NO barrier to either appreciating it or learning it. But that point, I feel, seeks to cover up a reality as much as it tells about it. Just to cut the matter short, just an example: a Carnatic vocalist can elaborate on a two-line 'niraval' in a Telugu/Sanskrit/Tamil/Kannada/Malayalam composition, least knowing its meaning and completely focusing on the raga journey. But, can a Mohiniyattam artiste elaborate similarly without any idea about the language in which the lyrics are sung in the background?
      9 hours ago · 
    • Shruthi Kp Sreevalsan Thiyyadi[ making a enormous effort not to call u sir]mmm.. you ll be amazed. at the basic level it is possible... beyond that u do ur research, for eg: panimathi mukhi bale is in a language i dont understand, then what do i do? i research and find out the meaning translate it to a lang i know and apply the emotions. i blv its not difficult for any indian to this . cuz everything expressed in that particular language is a culture and emotion they r already familiar with. difficulty might rise with movement[thats where it differs from music] cuz for a dancer her communication is anga and bhava abhinaya. also the kind of difficulty that u speak of surely will rise for a person alien to indian culture and society. why does a woman blush? how can she so easily accept her lord who was with another. once when i thought a japanese bharatanatyam, she did the movement very well, difficulty was to explain sringara and hence the dance itself looked alien. so u see difficulty in indian dance is not the literature or a particular form of dance at all. its something else altogether.
      9 hours ago ·  ·  2
    • Shruthi Kp ‎*taught
      9 hours ago · 
    • Shruthi Kp and if the question is can a non malayalee survive successfully in this form. lol that depends on individual s surviving instincts. but if sreedevi unni ,as a malayalee can survive in karnataka, bharathi ji, kanak ji and pallavi ji as non malayalees then...kind of answers that one.
      9 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath Mister Sreevalsan Thiyyadi, I think you made a big mistake telling that Mohiniyattam is a dance of seductress! It is a dance of enchantress! it is very different!
      7 hours ago ·  ·  4
    • Narayanan Mothalakottam I fully agree with Shruthi Kpregarding her answer on the language bar. for learning the dance form language may not be a problem (if the Guru-Shishya speaks a common language). and mastering the art depends on a lot, in which getting experience with the performance on stage is a main factor in supplement to the artistic talent & intelligence. like other kerala classical art forms of kathakali & kootiyattam (where most of the stages are in kerala only), mohiniyattam may not have this limitations. there are many places where mohiniyattam is performed as part of various dance festivals etc. Dr. Kanak Rele, Bharathi Shivaji & Dr. Deepthi Bhalla all have most of their stages out side kerala. but getting stages depends on many factors, where language could also play a factor when it comes in kerala. but understanding the sahithya is a major role in performance & choreography which may not be that easy with the non-malayalees (but now a days even the malayalee youngsters may not understand the sahithya for which they also require help from somebody else). but in my opinion understanding & interpretation of sahithya not only depend on the language but understanding the kerala culture also plays a vital role in that. for a non malayalee who has not lived in kerala could find hard in this case without help of some one fully understand it.
      Now mastering the art. All the non malayalee masters of mohiniyattam having a malayalee master playing behind (like Kavalam to Dr Kanak Rele). what I feel is in addition to the artistic talent & intelligence and hard work, a malayalee support from behind play vital in surviving in the field of mohiniyattam & also mastering the art from. In this case I think a non malayalee might find little more hardship in surviving & mastering the art of mohiniyattam asSreevalsan Thiyyadi doubted.
      6 hours ago ·  ·  3
    • Appan Varma my opinion is that Mohinyattom is more lasya than dance and any woman can do this dance well if she understand the story and meaning.If a man can do a lasya dance which can attract woman can it be called MOHANA ATTAM.Also that it will be more difficult for somebody trained in more classical dance forms to adopt to Mohiniaattom .The photo given by Srivatsan gives this out clearly.Shruti k.p-- pl see that some of the lady elders(a generation earlier) in marumakkathayam family married again just by sending away the existing husband.We had no so called morality then but Makkathayis had it due to their IGNORANCE (see what is happening in UK;USA etc where the mothers name alone is recognised )
      6 hours ago · 
    • Shruthi Kp Appan Varma sir im sorry, but i dont understand. are you refering to something i mentioned ?
      5 hours ago · 
    • Appan Varma yes ,your commernt about accepting her lord etc.i enjoy mohiniyattom well and had the pleasure of seeing almost all, from kalyanikkutty amma down.Had taken many people to Kalamandalm where i begin or end it with a Mohiniyattom performance for them.Mohini attom developed like Bharathanatyam but has become simpler in dance but stronger in facial expression .( more attractive). Both forms has become classical.
      5 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi Two things. Quickly:

      Shruthi: Your views on the “survival” of a non-Malayali artiste in Mohiniyattam is (only) an addition to the scope of this discussion. The primary question was limited only to knowing whether they face added difficulties in learning/mastering this art form.

      And, Emilie: Sorry, for the wrong expression. My mistake. In fact, I earlier meant only enchantress. Having said that, I now doubt whether it was a Freudian slip. With what little male psychology I know (as a man myself), there is effectively very little difference between an enchantress and seductress.
      5 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Narayanan Mothalakottam I don't agree to Sreevalsan Thiyyadi's comment "Mohiniyattam, which was known for long as the dance of the seductress". its because of the "AANKAZHCHA" which was discussed some time back in another thread. shrungaram & lasyam cannot be just taken as seductress, which has a meaning above all. even if the audience see the "vashyatha" on the dancer it was not really meant by the dancer while performing.
      4 hours ago ·  ·  4
    • Appan Varma why such words Sreevalsan.i think both words coluld have been used to Mohiniyattom of old.Ask your friends from Majeri area about the janmi who went away with an ENCHANTRESS(?).Not very many decades ago but in a generation before mine.Today Mohiniyattom is more a classical dance style with high respectability for the dancers.Still it is more enchanting than other similar dances of India ( not comparing with Lucknow dance bars of Mughal vintage)And Emille ,pl dont mistake - i am from a matriachial society - where all property will go to woman and where the male goes and stays in the wifes house and where the woman can send her husband away and remarry( no compensation- but never heard of many husbands openly at a time)This cultural or social background may be necessary to know of the base of all art forms - pl correct me somebody
      4 hours ago · 
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi Oh, come on Mothalakottam. if I (unwittingly) uttered the word "seductress", it may also have been because of the subconscious mind rearing its head and reminding me of a (questionable?) historical fact: this art form did degenerate for a while into being part of prostitution before poet Vallathol and his contemporaries rescued its status and enhanced its stature in the first half of the last century.
      4 hours ago ·  ·  4
    • Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath Appan Varma : can u explain me where did I make any mistake????... I don't understand....
      4 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath Sreevalsan Thiyyadi : this art form did degenerated because of who??? It is an interesting question...
      4 hours ago ·  ·  2
    • Sapna Govindan on mohiniyattam being more lasya than dance...different forms place stress on different aspects i feel..mohiniyattam on abhinaya and upper body movements as opposed to say kathak, which places more stress on footwork. As someone who practices this dance form i love both the pure dance and expressional dance aspects of this form. The lasya controlled and studied lasya which stumps a lot of students. I have seen bharatanatyam dancers struggle with the lasya of mohiniyattam :) To get it just right...not less, not more!
      3 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Appan Varma Emile ,you did not go wrong.i just wanted to explain our background and not that of a male hierachy system - our people are considered as patrons of the arts (not excluding other big rich people) .You came to my point when u asked the question "degenerated because of who"
      about an hour ago ·  ·  1
    • Appan Varma was there Mohiniyattom in old travancore area (south of Kollam ,let us say).any great artist from that area.pl mention.A friend asked me this and as i do not know pl let me know
      about an hour ago · 
    • Supriya Rajan Proud of all my fellow artistes for their passionate contribution here. my small point of view is that Non Malayali Mohiniyattam artistes find it difficult to gain acceptance among the Malayali audience, which is a very ironic truth voiced with great disappointment by many Non Malayali artistes who are otherwise widely accepted by non Malayali crowd. I dont know if it is a matter of concern or it can be accepted as the characteristic of a culture. The Malayali audience tend to have a fixed idea of how something should be; as the case here, of a Mohiniyattam artiste: how they should look, how they should present themselves, the aaharya, to mannerisms onstage and offstage too. So i think the greatest hurdle non maalayali artistes face could be that of acceptance by malayali audience which can also be the reason that dance form resists change in Kerala while dancers outside Kerala have the freedom to make necessary changes to the dance form and take it to a wider audience, without facing any ridicule. Also a Man's eye (aan kazhcha) shouldnt be the limit for Mohiniyattam, it can grow and is growing beyond that.
      about an hour ago ·  ·  5
    • Sreevalsan Thiyyadi Fresh point, Supriya Rajan. Thanks. Actually, never knew of such a mental block Keralites allegedly have for non-Malayali Mohiniyattam artistes (far from myself being party to the [so-called] phenomenon). But then, well, such a mindset exists -- at a different but similar level -- in the other classical dance(-drama) from Kerala. Kathakali still has viewers getting segregated in enjoying its southern (Kaplingadan) and northern (central Kerala's Kalluvazhi) styles. As for aan kazhcha (man's eye), don't take my point too seriously. For one, it pertains to a certain extent in most other arts -- irrespective of gender. I mean, there is also pen kazhcha, that way. Take, for instance, present-day Kathakali. I'm yet to be convinced that all female fans of Kalamandalam Gopi attend his shows to enjoy only the aesthetics of that classical art.
      about an hour ago ·  ·  2
    • Aniruddha Varma This has been an excellent thread which has got me engrossed in it from the very beginning. From an ordinary layman or rasika's point of view, I have something to say here. Much has been said about non-acceptance of non-Malayali Mohiniattom artistes inside Kerala. Here one wonders how much acceptance Malayali artistes themselves have gained from Kerala audiences. I may be excused if I am wrong, but I feel that had it not been for overseas patronage and sponsorship, the Kerala arts would not have, probably, gained at least this much appreciation and popularity. And I do not know whether the factor of Malayali-Non Malayali origin of the artistes is given any prominence, overseas. Even though I am not a person qualified to refute the points raised by learned artistes here above, I have a very humble feeling that probably, this thought about Malayali-Non Malayali differentiation is only a figment of imagination. Another point about the "aan kaazhcha", I personally feel that in performing arts gender difference is more a creation in the minds of the artistes than in the minds of the rasikas. Mohiniattom, being an almost 100 percent feminine art form, the concept of "aan kaazhcha" is only hypothetical. I believe a more ideal scenario would emerge when both artistes and rasikas grow beyond this type of confusions and concentrate on the quality of the performance as well as quality of "aswaadana". Thank you very much.
      55 minutes ago ·  ·  1
    • Emilie Revéret-Therakkadavath Appan Varma : I never meant about men...but about english invasions and colonisations.... Sorry Sir..but you went wrong... and I know about matriarchal society of Kerala and Travancore kingdoms... I learnt about Kerala History...
      53 minutes ago · 
    • Narayanan Mothalakottam Supriya Rajan there you said. these necessary changes being made in the art form as part of improvisation probably dilute the core form of the mohiniyattam. the artists who know many dance forms probably as part of improvisation mix some element of other dance forms into it. that could be one of the reasons where wide acceptance is not there in kerala (of course even malayalee artists also have this problem). even i heard many time the senior artists & experts of mohiniyattam in kerala talking that Dr. Kanak Rele's mohiniyattam is not the in the pure form. that's one of the reason Dr. Rele could not get acceptance in kerala.
      36 minutes ago ·  ·  2
    • Sapna Govindan that will bring up the question of what is "pure " mohiniyattam, considering that it was reconstructed in the early days of kalamandalam under guidance of vallathol. Could it be that our ignorance regarding the form of mohinattam as practiced in ancient times lends itself to experimentation, more so compared to other forms? This not forgetting the fact that kalamandalam being the birthplace of mohiniyattam as we see it today, has a certain claim to it.
      18 minutes ago ·  ·  2
    • Sapna Govindan just playing the devil's advocate!
      17 minutes ago ·  ·  2
    • Aniruddha Varma Sapna Govindan, I do not think anybody would object to experimenting with new ideas in Mohiniattom also. As long as its overall appeal remains embedded in 'lasyam' and as long as other dance forms such as bharathanatyam or Kathakali do not encroach into the inner core of Mohiniattom recitals, I believe everything will be all right. Here, I would also doubt the efficacy of the word 'pure' in any dance form, for that matter.
      12 minutes ago ·  ·  2
    • Supriya Rajan You are right sir, there is this possibility of dilution. But as far as i know nobody in the present time has actually seen mohiniyattam in its pristine form, unfortunately. At Kalamandalam, you will know better, there has been lot of borrowing done from Kathakali. Also it is a common practice for most of the dance teachers and practitioners in Kerala to handle many dance forms at the same time. So there is this constant threat of dilution and it is again ironic that it is some of the non malayali artistes who have given complete focus of their study and practice to solely Mohiniyattam. And we had a chance to watch Santha Rao's performance (Santha Rao who learned the dance form directly from Kirshna Panikker Asan) which was entirely of different characteristic. So difficult to restrict the aspect of dilution only to non malayali artistes.
      10 minutes ago ·  ·  2