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Of all India’s dance traditions, Mohini Attam (the dance of the Enchantress) is perhaps the least well-known in Europe. A classical dance performed by women and originating in the state of Kerala, it is rooted in Hindu mythology: the legend recounts that the god Vishnu took on the appearance of the alluring nymph Mohini in order to overcome a band of demons and compel them to return the elixir of immortality which they had stolen. Exclusively performed by women, Mohini Attam is a solo dance.
Drawing upon a vast traditional repertoire, alternating between expressive and narrative dance, Brigitte Chataignier and her musicians evoke the different aesthetic facets of Mohini Attam. Dressed in white with gold and jasmine trimmings, she uses the gestural language of “mudras” and facial expressions to accentuate the curving lines of the dance, fully inhabiting these songs of love and devotion.
The emphasis placed on slowness and listening, and the flowing organic movements marshalled by tapping feet, evoke the natural riches of Kerala: the swaying palm leaves, the rice fields rippling in the breeze, and the never-ending cycle of the waves. The harmonious synergy between the dancing, the singing, the music and the rhythm gradually sweeps up the audience in a tide of emotion.
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Danced by: Brigitte Chataignier
Sung by: Madhavan Nampoothiri
Violin: Ajith Kumar
Mridangam: Vypeen Satish
Edaykka: Tripunitura Krishnadas
Photos credits : Maurice Melliet
- Place of capture : Jardin du Musée Vesunna
- Collection : Mimos 2010