Gracefully let your feet fall to the beats of Alolitha and Dhrutha charis

The purpose of our journey into exploring various expressions and mudras of Mohiniyattam — in this case, Alolitha and Dhrutha charis — was not only to enlighten the readers but also to help others discover the essence of spirituality in the dance form. Mohiniyattam is a confluence of beautiful footwork, elegant arm movements and surreal expressions.
In the previous article, we discussed the different stylised footwork charis in Mohiniyattam. Charis are used by a dancer to portray techniques to move from side to side and front to back using stylised footwork. Charis are essential components that enhance the Nrutha or pure dance and are also essential for modulating the speed of the dancer. There are 14 different charis in Mohiniyattam. Four of them have the hands fixed in the left hip and the other 10 use different nritha hasthas or hand gestures. Charis such as Valayam, Namitha, NathaDakshinaparshwa and Unnatha were discussed in the earlier articles.

Here we continue to further explore Alolitha chari and Drutha chari


Rhythm: Dhi Tha Dhi Thi
This chari uses the second step in the Thaganam group of steps to slowly move in the backward direction.

Selected photos from Alolita (Sandra Pisharody)


Rhythm: THei thitha thithei
This chari is used to move in the diagonal directions and occasionally for sideward movement. Hold the Ardhachandra gesture in the right hand with the palm facing upwards. The right arm should be held upwards in the half-bend position parallel to the head. Hit the right foot two times for thei thitha. Hit the foot slightly towards the right for the second beat thitha.

Selected photos from Drutha (Meenakshy Menon)

While the torso should be held straight, the face should turn towards the right hand. For thi thei, hit the left foot twice. Hold the Hamsasya gesture on the right hand with the palm facing downward to towards the front and look towards the left diagonal. Place the foot steps in such a way as to move diagonally toward the right back.

This chari can be used to move towards both right and left diagonal directions.  

Photo: Natanakairali Archives

Assisted by Sreekanth Janardhanan

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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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