It is a classical dance form from Kerala.It is considered a very graceful form of dance meant to be performed as solo recitals by women.
The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words “Mohini” meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and “aattam” meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word “Mohiniyattam” literally means “dance of the enchantress”.
There are two stories of the Lord Vishnu disguised as a Mohini. In one, he appears as Mohini to lure the asuras (demons) away from the amrita (nectar of immortality) obtained during the churning of the palazhi or Ocean of Milk. In the second story Vishnu appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura.
The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of erect posture from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound Kerala.
There are approximately 40 basic movements, known as atavukal.
The vocal music of Mohiniyattam involves variations in rhythmic structure known as chollu.
Noted exponents of Mohiniyattam are: T. Chinnammu Amma, Kalamandalam Sugandhi