Adavus form a very important element which needs to be learnt with great perfection.

In our earlier articles we have discussed various charis and hastamudras of Mohiniyattam. Now we are explaining adavus.  Adavus are thebasic dance units. They are the sub-divisions of the pure dance (nritha) of Mohiniyattam which are produced by a harmonious combination of various types of gestures, body movements, mandalams, footwork and charis. When Mohiniyattam dance is taught, to ensure that the student develops graceful bodily control and a sense of rhythm, it is these dance units that are practiced. For each of these Adavu-s there are rhythmic syllables ( Vaytharis) based on their footwork. It is through these vaythari-s that the various types of adavu-s are identified. These have been subdivided into Taganam, Jaganam, Dhaganam and Sammisrarm. Notice how each division is named with the initial letter of the vaytharis used. The last division of Sammisram(meaning mixed) indicates the use of different types of syllables for the performance of some adavu-s.

Taganam (Adavu -1)

Taganam [Talam : Chempata (Adi)]

x Tai1 Tai2 Ti3 Tix Taiv Taix Tiv Ti

Taganam (Adavu -2)

Taganam (Adavu -3)

Photo Courtesy: Natanakairali Archives

Artist: Sandra Pisharody,

Video Clipping: Mohiniyattam Artist. Anju Peter

Assisted by Sreekanth Janardhanan


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

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