Kalamandalam Sugandhi supervising a session.
DASYAM SCHOOL of Mohiniyattom, run by Gopika Varmais engaged in the promotion and propagation of the dance form, by teaching aspiring students.
Recently Dasyam held a ten-day workshop, on devising a new set of Nritta Hastas, to be incorporated into the regular format of Mohiniyattom. It was explained by Gopika that Mohiniyattom, for long, has been employing the 54 Nritta Hastas (hand delineations set to specific feet movements) by the renowned Kalyani Kutti Amma. Her disciple Kalamandalam Sugandhi, who taught Gopika, was here at Dasyam Centre to conduct the workshop during which she created a whole set of Adavu structures with hand delineations which Gopika plans to teach her students and infuse in her performances.
Mohiniyattom did not gain so much importance and exposure until a couple of decades ago, probably due to its limited frame work of the pure dance structure as well as the Hastas which are based on the norms found in Hastalakshana Deepika. Although the rhythmical groups that form the base of the movement technique in this dance is quite limited, the beauty of the form was fully explored even within this format to the best of the artiste's ability, through sensitive abhinaya, adding grandeur to this `Dance of the Enchantress.'
A set of students working with Gopika for the past couple of years at Dasyam came together to study the new patterns devised by Kalamandalam Sugandhi. Groups of pure structures combined with hand gestures to form patterns based on movements (Chaaris), as quoted in the Natya Sastra have been created and taught by Sugandhi. ``I hope that my efforts will bear fruit in course of time and the movements incorporated in the regular stream of the performance," said Sugandhi. The creative work, however, at some places, seemed similar to the details of the adavu of Bharatanatyam.
Gopika has released a VCD on Hastas in Mohiniyattom, along with a handbook containing the different hand gestures. Dasyam proposes to conduct workshops by Kalamandalam Sugandhi, focussing on the deeper elements of Nritta, like theermanams, etc., in the future.
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