Mohiniattam, with its origins in Kerala, is one of the lesser known of the eight Indian classical dance forms — the other seven being Bharatnatyam, Katahak, Kathakali, Sattriya, Oddissi, Kuchipudi and Manipuri. Characterised by swaying and circular movements, the dance form is very slow in comparison to the others, going up to only the second speed, Madhyama, whereas a dance form like Kathak would go up to the fourth speed, Dhuta.
“It is one of the reasons that the dance has not been very popular with audiences,” explains Rekha Raju, a Mohiniattam dancer who is working towards promoting the dance form. A chartered accountant by qualification, Dr Raju chose to pursue a career in dance, starting with Bharatnatyam.
Hailing from Kerala, she thought it was her duty to promote the dance form of her homeland and she has been working primarily with Mohiniattam for the past six years.
A Yuva Kala Bharati, Yuva Kala Pratibha and Bharat Nritya Samrat awardee, she runs the Nrithya Dhama School of Dance and Music in Bangalore. Raju was in Pune for a workshop on Bharatnatyam with students of the Bharati Vidya Bhavan Schoo