Author: Nirmala Paniker


Guru Nirmala Paniker is a danseuse, choreographer and researcher of repute. She established Natanakaisiki, the dance research and training wing of Natanakairali.

Sankaracharya mentions the lasya or grace of the Goddess in several of his verses, while the recurring theme of Mohiniyattam – the pain of a Nayika separated from the Nayaka, can be metaphorically compared to Jīvātma yearning to be reunited with the Paramātma.

The manuals for several Kerala art forms like Koodiyāṭṭaṁ and Nangiārkūttụ are said to have been formed during the age of the Kulasekharas, who followed the Chera dynasty in Kerala. The current day Mohiniyattam can be considered a dance form in the lasya style which imbibed the core principles of many ancient dance forms of Chera influence

The author traces the origins of dance forms involving solo performances by women, such as Mohiniyattam, Thiruvathirakkali and Nangiarkoothu, to folk art forms revolving around the worship of the Mother Goddess and kavus (sacred groves)

There are distinct similarities between the lasya movements and the juggling techniques with a ball, described in the dance performances in the seventh century work Daśhakumāracharitaṁ, and Kerala dance forms like Mohiniyattam and Thiruvathirakkali.