India has seven different forms of classical dance: Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Manipuri and Odissi. Three millenniums ago, sage Bharata wrote an exhaustive treatise on the three art forms, Music, Dance and Drama. Of these, “Natya Sastra” comprises of a detailed section on every minute aspect of the art of dance. The Natya Sastra is the primary text for all classical Indian dance forms. Through the course of time, each style developed its own characteristics closely tied to the regional culture. These regions are now known as:
Northern India (Kathak)
Tamil Nadu (Bharatanatyam)
Kerala (Mohiniyattam and Kathakali)
Andhra Pradesh (Kuchipudi)
Mohiniyattam is deeply indebted to the constructive contributions of the three Pillars or Thri-Moorthis, namely Sri Swathithirunal, Sri Vallathol (a great poet and founder of Kerala Kalamandalam) and Smt. Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma (who is considered the mother of Mohiniyattam as we see it today) for its revival. Kalyanikutty Amma cleared the mythical mystery behind the name of this dance form and gave it the most convincing explanation based on truth, social and historical evolution, interpreting Mohiniyattam as the dance of a beautiful lady rather than that of a mythical enchantress from heaven.