About Me

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Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam dancer. Happily married to Dileep Kannan. Mother of a beautiful angel -Tamanna. Daughter of Mr. E.M Haridas & Mrs. Girija Haridas. Daughter-in-law of Dr. K. P Kannan & Mrs. Shobhana Kannan

January 3, 2018

KOOTHAMBALAM - The Performing Theatres in Kerala Temples

KOOTHAMBALAM - The Performing Theatres in Kerala Temples

The Need for Temples in India

A temple in our country plays a very important role in the life of people. Earlier it was just not a place for people to pay a visit once a week perfunctorily and pray, do the usual poojas for oneself and close family members. The temple was a place which met the need of the community which was deeply rooted in religion. In fact, the village in which the temple was located would be named after the temple and its deity. For Eg, Thiruvananthapuram means the Place of Lord Anantha.
It provided livelihood to many people in the society.During its construction, it provided master architects , sculptors, painters , other artisans ,masonry and common workmen a scope for their aesthetic expression for years. For daily temple rituals, numerous people from different walks of life like the Pujaris (Hindu priests), garland makers, goldsmiths, temple cleaners, tailors and performing artistes like musicians, actors, dancers .
The temple also serves as a banker to the needy agriculturists and also provided an occupation to the farmers who tilled on the vast temple lands.It also provided for the moral satisfaction to the people of the locality. Temple courtyards or halls were the place for gatherings to hear stories based on mythology . Temples also had Pathshalas or schools attached to it. It also gives solace to those in distress and also an area of discussion by elders to placate local disputes and routine affairs.During festive days or fairs, it provides traders , merchants and other artisans along with the local people a platform to sell, buy and barter. Artistes from other regions also got an opportunity to perform. Such events provided general merriment for the families living close-by as a social platform.
To the more important temples, it had Natya-Mandapas attached i.e the temple theatre where Natya and Nrtya was performed on a daily basis as a ritual , even though it was both educational and provided aesthetic enjoyment to people from all walks of life. In Kerala, they are known as Koothambalams. Koothu means Natya and Ambalam means temple hence, it is the temple for theatre.

CONCEPT OF A KOOTHAMBALAM

Koothambalam at Vadakkunathan Temple, Trichur 

The Koothamabalam or Nrtta Mandapa came into existence during the day’s of Bharata. Bharatamuni in his extant NatyaSastra has in fact written an entire chapter based on the construction of an auditorium for theatre. Though , there is a legend associated to the need of an auditorium, practically Bharata believed in providing an specifically erected enclosed space for theatre to make it more aesthetic. Earlier , there wasn’t any particular space for performing arts, it was either done in any open space or on temporarily erected stages and even on streets.
As a result, the class of audience began to change. Mostly only invitees were present or those who are genuinely interested in the art form. The big audience began to disappear after transforming theatre to Natyadharmi The Nrtta Mandapa would have a capacity of 150-200 people which actually helped them closely observe Satvika Abhinaya as well.The square shape is the basis of all Indian architecture as it can contain any shape like the circle, triangle, octagon etc and also can extended to a rectangle. Square is considered ideal as it emulates the shape of the Vedic Homa Kunda , it is associated with divine beings in Vedic Rituals and hence considered suitable for building temples. Koothamabalam is also square or rectangular arrived at the process of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division mentioned in the Slokas of Silparatna pertaining to theatre. The architecture of the Koothambalam reflects that of the temple . It is considered as one of the Prasadas of the temple.The character and identity of a temple is determined by architecture of its śrīkōvil. Śrīkōvil is the nucleus of temple complex.
Some of its salient Features:-
  • To remove all external disturbances . It is said that after entering into the Koothambalam, it should be equivalent to entering a cave devoid of any distractions and complete obliviousness from the outside world. This helped in creating an atmosphere of divinity and hence uphold its sanctity as a divine structure.
  • Unlike the present day proscenium theatre where there is quite a distance between the performer and the audience since the stage is much higher; the Arangu at a Koothambalam , although a
    Arangu 
    raised platform is not very high, hence it ensures a healthy interaction between the performer and the audience. The audience seated on the ground would be completely involved in the performance.
  • It was a rule that all the visual arts like paintings or sculptures that would be present at the time of the performance should be in accordance with the theme to be presented that particular day
    or night. For eg if the theme is Karuna, then the respective visual arts should also depict the same Bhava. They should be miniatures of mythological stories compatible to the theme.
  • There shouldn’t be any background for the stage and any idea was purely dependant on the Angika Abhinaya of the actor.
  • Acoustics are given utmost importance. There should be no echo present and hence acoustic friendly. The actor should be able to deliver his voice till last end of his/her audience. The 3 types Natyagrahas mentioned in Bharata's Natya Sastra according to size and dimensions ( Biggest, Middle and Small sizes) also ensures the same. The 3 types according to their shapes are Vikrsta- Oblong , Chaturasra -Rectangular and Tryasra - Triangular. Hence to avoid echos, there would be openings on either sides of the structure especially between the trellis walls of the Mandapam.
  • Akin to the present day green rooms found in current day auditoriums, Koothambalams have a dressing room called Nepathya or Aniyara . It would mostly have 2 doors from the Rangamandapa, one for exit and one for entrance. There would also be a door leading to the pathway behind Rangamandapa .
  • Lighting is not given much importance as there would be mostly just big traditional lamp “Vilakku” that would be lit and Vilakku was an integral part of the performance. Once the Vilakku has been lit,then the performer becomes completely involved in his character. The Vilakku is considered as the deity instead of the temple’s presiding deity.
  • Consecration of a Koothambalam is an important ritual as the structure is considered divine.

PERFORMANCE

The Koothambalam is used for staging Koothu, Chakyar or Nangyar Koothu and Koodiyattam, an ancient ritualistic art forms of Central Kerala.  The Chakyarkoothu performers are collectively known as Chakyars. They are hereditary actors from Kerala mostly doing solo acts in Sanskrit plays. The single act can go on several days .It is necessary to enact a prelude to the original theme to be presented . That portion where a flashback is performed is called Nirvahana. The act begins properly only the last 2 days when all the characters come together to be enacted by a single Chakyar , hence the name Kuttiyatam meaning Joint acting, also refered as Kootu. Two legendary Chakiarkoothu doyens are Sri.Mani Madhava Chakyar and Ammanur Madhava Chakyar. The legacy is taken forward by eminent dancer Sri.G.Venu and his talented daughter Kapila Venu.
The only accompanying instruments used are 2 Mizhavus and an Edakka. Both percussion instruments. The 2 Mizhavus are
Mizhavus placed on the Arangu
permanently fixed on the Ranga Mandapa of the
Koothamabalam. One of the Mizhavu is the main one which controls the entire act and the other one is used to fill up any gaps during Talam. Mizhavus are also consecrated like the Koothamabalam itself and once they are spoilt out of usage, it is given royal funeral rituals. These Mizhavus are placed almost in front of the doors to the Nepathya.
Though it is originally in Sanskrit, the regionalised version came up in the 9th-10th century A.D and hence started using Manipravalam (mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam). The maintenance of the Natakasala and the performers were ensured the royalty and common men through generous endowments though cash and kind.

The Kootu was considered divine and was in fact one of the 16 upacharas or rituals conducted at the temple for the propitiation of the deity. The Chakyar was considered next to the head temple priest. He received the Vilakku from the priest after Pooja . During a performance, there wouldn’t be any Pooja at the Srikovil or vice versa as the deity’s presence should be present at the ritual as a whole, hence shouldn’t be divided. The deity should be present at the time of the performance at the Koothamabalam as Kootu was sacred . The Koothamabalam was considered almost equivalent to the Srikovil , hence Koothamabalam was treated like a temple.
Some of the most famous Koothambalams are found in temples suchas Vadakunathan in Trichur, Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple, Koodalmanikyam Temple - Irinjalakkuda, Mahadeva Temple - Peruvanam in Trichur District , Subramanya temple - Harippad.
Bibliography & References
  • Dr.K.G Paulose( Sanskrit scholar) -Primary source through conversations and direct notes at his residence
  • Panchal, GovardhanKuttu and Kuttampalam  
  • Rangacharya, Adya - The Natyasastra (English Translation with Critical Notes) 
  • Thanks to the Devaswom (temple administration)at Vadakkunathan temple for permission to see and take pictures of the Koothambalam (interior & exterior)


October 17, 2014

Finishing Adavus or Theermanams of Mohiniyattam


The word Theermanam means to conclude. Theermanam are hence known as they are done to culminate a dance sequence or jathi.

FINISHING ADAVU -I





Chollu: THLANKU DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA DHINA THLANKU DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA DHINA THLANKU DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THOM



 This Adavu doesn't necessarily have to be performed exactly like mentioned in the Chollu. The Adavu can be divided into parts accordingly. For e.g. it can be done as 
THLANKU DHINA THOM
THLANKU DHINA THOM
                                                                    THLANKU DHINA THOM


But while learning it is taught as a combination mentioned in the Chollu and later while choreographing an item, they maybe divided into parts or done as a whole as required.

I shall divide and explain each part as an individual Adavu. Hence shall explicate as done on the right side.

Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandi posture with both hands near chest holding Hamsasya

A) THLANKU DHINA THOM

THLANKU - Stamp the right leg . 

DHI  - Change posture to Kaalmandalam while placing the right heel diagonally to the right side . 

NA - While remaining in the same position as DHI , stamp the left leg.

THOM - Bring back the right leg to previous position and change posture to Aramandi. 

During the entire course of the Adavu, rotate right hand at the wrist and change from Hamsasya to Tripathaka  and come back to Hamsasya at the end of the AdavuMove body and eyes   along with direction of the hand.

B)   THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA DHINA THOM


 THLANKU DHINA - Exactly like  in A without THOM but bring back right hand to Hamsasya. 

THARIKITA - Change posture to Kaalmandalam while slightly lifting the right leg and placing it a little away on to the right side diagonally. Change the right hand to Ardhachandra and place it parallel to the right foot opposite the knee. Body should bent towards the right leg and eyes should the right hand. 

 DHINA - Standing in the same position as THARIKITA  , stamp the left leg.

THOM - Come back to starting posture by bringing back the right leg near the left leg. Body, head and eyes should be in Samam.


C)   THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA DHINA THLANKU DHINA THOM

THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA DHINA -  Exactly like  in B

THLANKU DHINA THOM - Exactly like  in A


I shall explain the sequence in which the Adavu is done according to the Chollu given initially.


  • A - on the right side
  • B - on the left side
  • C - on the right side
  • C - on the left side
  • B  - on the right side
  • A - on the left side
The purpose of this is that the dancer will be able to perform the Adavu effortlessly in any sequence as per requirement. Be it AAA or ABC or CBA etc.



FINISHING ADAVU -II




Chollu: THLANKU DHINA THOM
              THARIKITA  THLANKU DHINA THOM  
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA  DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA  DHINA THOM
              THARIKITA  THLANKU DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THOM

Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandi posture with right hand near chest holding Hamsasya and left hand on the waist.

Just like the previous Theermanam, this Adavu can also be performed dividing into parts or as a set. I shall explain dividing them into parts as done on the right side.

A) THLANKU DHINA THOM  (THAI DHI THI THAI)

THLANKU (THAI) Stamp the right leg . Move the right hand in a semi-circular motion from the chest to above the head placed diagonally. Move  body,head and eyes along with the hand. 

DHI NA THOM - Do normal DHI THI THAI with the legs. Move the right hand and place it near the navel while changing from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra (pointing down) .


B)    THARIKITA THLANKU DHINA THOM  (THAI THAI DHI THI THAI)

THARIKITA THLANKU (THAI  THAI ) - Stamp the right leg  and left leg one after the other. Move the right hand in a semi-circular motion from the chest to above the head placed diagonally. Move  body,head and eyes along with the hand. 

DHI NA THOM - Do normal DHI THI THAI with the legs. Move the right hand and place it near the navel while changing from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra (pointing down) .


C)    THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA  DHINA THOM  (THAI THAI THAI DHI THI THAI)

THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA (THAI  THAI THAI)  -  Stamp the right leg  ,then the left leg and again the right leg one . Move the right hand in a semi-circular motion from the chest to above the head placed diagonally. Move  body,head and eyes along with the hand. 

DHI NA THOM - Do normal DHI THI THAI with the legs. Move the right hand and place it near the navel while changing from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra (pointing down) .

I shall explain the sequence in which the Adavu is done according to the Chollu given initially.


  • A - on the right side
  • B - on the left side
  • C - on the right side
  • C - on the left side
  • B  - on the right side
  • A - on the left side

FINISHING ADAVU -III



Chollu: THLANKU DHINA THOM
              THARIKITA  THLANKU DHINA THOM  
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA  DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA  DHINA THOM
              THARIKITA  THLANKU DHINA THOM
              THLANKU DHINA THOM

Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandi posture with both hands in Dola .

Just like the previous Theermanam, this Adavu can also be performed dividing into parts or as a set. I shall explain dividing them into parts as done on the right side.

A) THLANKU DHINA THOM  (THAI DHI THI THAI)

THLANKU (THAI) Stamp the right leg . Move the right hand from Dola position to above the head in line with the nose. Sway the body gracefully from right side to the left side. Head and eyes should follow the right hand. 

DHI NA THOM - Do normal DHI THI THAI with the legs. Bring back the right hand to the previous position . Move the body back to position. Head and eyes should follow the right hand. 


B)    THARIKITA THLANKU DHINA THOM  (THAI THAI DHI THI THAI)

THARIKITA THLANKU (THAI  THAI ) - Stamp the right leg  and left leg one after the other. Move the right hand from Dola position to above the head in line with the nose. Sway the body gracefully from right side to the left side. Head and eyes should follow the right hand. 

DHI NA THOM - Do normal DHI THI THAI with the legs. Bring back the right hand to the previous position . Move the body back to position. Head and eyes should follow the right hand. 


C)    THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA  DHINA THOM  (THAI THAI THAI DHI THI THAI)

THLANKU DHINA THARIKITA (THAI  THAI THAI)  -  Stamp the right leg  ,then the left leg and again the right leg one .Move the right hand from Dola position to above the head in line with the nose. Sway the body gracefully from right side to the left side. Head and eyes should follow the right hand. 

DHI NA THOM - Do normal DHI THI THAI with the legs. Bring back the right hand to the previous position . Move the body back to position. Head and eyes should follow the right hand. 



These are just a few finishing Adavus. Numerous combinations of Theermanams are possible. For e.g. One can combine the 3rd Thaganam with the above Adavus and make Theermanam sequence.  

May 2, 2014

Mohiniyattam Adavus- Samishram or Vakrams (7 to 11)


Till now all the Adavus which I have explained has been codified by Smt.Kalyanikutty Amma. Now the Adavus I am going explain about in this post are the ones choreographed by my Guru - Smt.Shyamala Surendran.

SAMISHRAM-VII


Chollu: THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandi posture with the right hand near the chest in Tripathaka  and left hand in Dola

THAAM - Cross the right leg in front of the left leg and immediately after that lift the left leg & place it down.  Move the right hand in a sliding manner with the palm facing down to left side. The body,head and eyes should move to the left side.

THARITHA DHINA - Bring back the right leg to original position  and stamp twice . Place the right hand in front of the chest with the palm facing up. Head and eyes are in Samam. Come to Samam position.

DHEEM - Turn the body to the left side and place the left leg behind the right leg and then place the right leg next to left leg . Right hand twists to Soochi near the right eye. Body, head and eyes are in Samam.

 DHIMITHA DHINA - Remaining in the same position as DHEEM (facing front), conclude with Atami on right and left.

Repeat the entire Adavu on the left side.



SAMISHRAM-VIII





Chollu: THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandi posture with the right hand near the chest in Hamsasya  and left hand in Ardhachandra  on the left side above the head with the shoulder parallel to the floor

THAAM - Cross the right leg in front of the left leg and immediately after that lift the left leg & place it down.  Hands remains the same as the starting posture. Body and eyes should move to the left side.

THARITHA  - Bring back the right leg to original position . Change the Hasta on the right hand from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra and on the left hand from Ardhachandra to Hamsasya. 

DHINA - Keep the same posture as THARITHA and stamp the left leg.

DHEEM - Lift the right leg from the ground . Change both hands to Mushti (both hands are still at the original position) and then immediately twist both hands towards left side at the wrist while simultaneously opening them to Tripathaka . Place the leg down as well. The body, head and eyes should move the direction of the hands. 

DHIMITHA DHINA - As a continuation of DHEEM  , the Mudras changes to Hamsasya and  Ardhachandra on the right hand and left hand respectively. Body comes back to Samam. Left and right legs are stamped very softly.

Please note that for a single side; this Adavu is done 4 times i.e. 

  • First one is done on the right side facing front.
  • Second one is done on the left side facing front.
  • Third one is done on the right side facing left side. 
  • Fourth one is done on the left side facing right.
The entire Adavu is then repeated on the left side with the sides reversed i.e.

  • First one is done on the left side facing front.
  • Second one is done on the right side facing front.
  • Third one is done on the left side facing right . 
  • Fourth one is done on the right side facing left .
SAMISHRAM-IX


Chollu: THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandi posture.

THAAM - Cross the right leg in front of the left leg and immediately after that lift the left leg slightly & place it down.  Hold Tripathaka on both hands and place them parallel to  the knee of the right leg with the palms facing up. The body and head should bend accordingly . Eyes should follow the hands. 

THARITHA - Bring back the right leg to original position . Change the Hastas on both hands to Hamsasya and keep them above the head with palms facing up.  Body, head and eyes are in Samam.

DHINA - Keep the same posture as THARITHA and stamp the left leg.

DHEEM - Posture changes to Mukaalmandi . The right hand changes to Ardhachandra and slides to and fro near the waist on the right side. Raise the right leg on to the toes and place it down while the hand moves to & fro. Body turns to the right side and comes back in accordance to the hand. Head and eyes follow the movement of the right hand.   Left hand is still above the head.

DHIMITHA DHINA - DHEEM is repeated on the left side.

Repeat the entire Adavu on the left side.


SAMISHRAM-X




Chollu: THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA
Starting Posture: Samam posture - Both hands holding Dola - Right hand in front of the chest and eft hand away from the body .

THAAM  -  Turning the body diagonally to the left side(right shoulder in front) ,place right leg  diagonally to the right side at a distance of about 1.5 feet.  Move the right hand in a downward semi-circular motion from the chest and stretch it diagonally to the right side at eye level. Change the Hasta to Hamsasya. Torso ,head and eyes should follow the movement of the hand. While moving the hand, the dancer must bend her knee as well. 

THARITHA - Bring back the right hand in a similar semi-circular motion near the navel changing from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra  with the index finger pointing down. Right leg is placed behind the left leg in Swastikam.  Turn the body diagonally to the right side ( left shoulder in front). After placing the hand near the navel, turn the head above the left shoulder and look diagonally to the left side. 

DHINA - Remaining in the same position as THARITHA , lift the right leg slightly and place it down on the toes.

DHEEM   - With the body in the same position as THARITHA DHINA , place the right leg diagonally behind to the right side at a small distance and stamp twice. Move the right hand in a downward semi-circular motion diagonally behind .

DHIMITHA - As a continuation of DHEEM, place the right hand above the head changing from Ardhachandra to Mushti (with thumb sticking out). Body ,head and eyes should move along with the hand . After placing right hand above the head, head and eyes should be looking over the left shoulder diagonally to the left side. Bring the left leg to Swastikam behind the right leg.

DHINA - Remaining in the same position as DHIMITHA , lift body from the knee slightly and come back to position.

Repeat the entire Adavu on the left side.


SAMISHRAM-XI


Chollu: THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandi posture.

THAAM - Cross the right leg in front of the left leg and immediately after that lift the left leg & place it down.  Place the hands in Anjali  diagonally above the head on the left side. The torso and head should be leaning to the left side.  Eyes should follow the hand.

THARITHA DHINA - Bring back the right leg to original position and stamp twice. Move the both the near waist ( on their respective sides) changing from Anjali  to Mushti (with thumbs sticking out).  The hands are moved in the manner mentioned below:- 
 The elbow is pulled back to shoulder level  and then brought forward to a level where the fists are in level with the waist.

DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA - Adavu is repeated on the left side.



January 20, 2014

Mohiniyattam Adavus- Samishram or Vakrams (5 & 6)


 After a break , I am back. I would like to continue with Samishrams. Hopefully by now , everyone's slightly sure about the previous Adavus. This will be helpful in learning rest of the Adavus.

SAMISHRAM-V

The 5th Samishram is a combination of various adavus that we have learnt. You can say it is a combination of the 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th Thaganams. 



Chollu: THATHTHI THAKANAKA THAKATHITHAKANAKA  THIKUTHATHARI THARIKITADHINA THLANKU DHINATHOM
Starting Posture: Aramandalam posture. Both hands in front of the chest - Tripathaka - palms facing down.

THATHTHI - Raise the right leg slightly and keep it down twice. Body and head should sway slightly to the right side and right palm should turn and should face up. Eyes should move to the right side.

THAKANAKA - Raise the left leg slightly and keep it down twice. Body and head should sway slightly to the left side and left palm should turn face up while the right hand turns to its previous position where the palm faces down. Eyes should move to the left side.

THAKATHI -Bend body slightly from right to left. Keep right leg behind left leg in Swasthikam. Change right hand from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra and left hand still in front of the chest in Hamsasya.

THAKANAKA - Bend body slightly to  right . Keep left leg behind right leg in Swasthikam. Change left hand from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra and right hand still in front of the chest in Hamsasya.

THIKUTHATHARI - Like the 6th Thaganam slightly faster.

THARIKITADHINA - Like the 5th Thaganam slightly faster.

THLANKU DHINATHOM - Do Thai Dhi Thi Thai  with the leg. The right hand circle sideways from Ardhachandra to Hamsasya  and comes back in front the chest. The left hand remains in front of the chest  in Hamsasya. The body and eyes should along with the hand. 

Repeat the entire Adavu on the left side.


SAMISHRAM-VI


Chollu: THATHTHI THAKANAKA THAKUMTHARI KITATHAKA
Starting Posture: Aramandalam posture. Both hands in front of the chest holding  Hamsasya 

THA - Place the right leg towards the right corner at a distance. Change the right hand to Ardhachandra with palm facing up. The right hand is stretched to the right corner parallel to the right leg. Body should along with the hand and leg to the right corner. Left hand is placed above the head in the left corner. 

THTHI - Stamp the left leg while remaining in the same position as THA

THAKA - Place the right hand in front of the chest changing from Ardhachandra to Hamsasya . Change left hand from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra with palm facing up. The right leg is placed behind the left leg in Swastikam.  The body is slanted towards the left side at the waist and should look at the left hand

NAKA - Stamp the left leg while standing in the position as in THAKA

THAKUMTHARI  - Stamp THI THI THAI once at the same place on the right side. The right hand is places near the waist and turns from Ardhachandra to Hamsasya. It should be noted that when the hand is holding Ardhachandra , one should look at the hand and while holding Hamsasya, one should look in front. 

KITATHAKA - Repeat THAKUMTHARI 

Repeat the entire Adavu on the left side.


In this blog post , I am explaining only 2 Samishram Adavus as I believe they are slightly on the tougher side . I would also like to dedicate my next post/s to my Guru Smt.Shyamala Surendran as in the next blog post/s I will be explaining the Adavus which has been choreographed by her.









October 10, 2013

Mohiniyattam Adavus - Samishrams or Vakrams (1 to 4)



After all the sets of Adavus of ending with "Ganam", we go on to the most complex set of Adavus known as the Vakram or Samishram.  The literal meaning of the word Vakram  is curve and Samishram means medley. These Adavus are a mixture of the previous Adavus we learnt and plenty of flowing movements are involved. These Adavus are slightly complicated yet extremely graceful at the same time. These have no specific numbers . Amma had choreographed 6 of them. Various dancers have choreographed and added to the Samishram repertoire . 

SAMISHRAM-I




Chollu: THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandalam with both near the chest holding Hamsasya. Eyes in Samam

THAAM - Keep the right leg onto the right side on the heels in Aramandalam. Body should be bend to the right side. Right hand should move & change from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra by moving in a circular motion from the chest placing it in front of the right knee. Eyes should follow the right hand.

THARITHA DHINA - Move to the right side placing the left leg in front of the right leg(Right leg should be on the toes). Right hand will be in Hamsasya in front of the chest and the left hand will change from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra moving a slight semi-circular motion from the chest to the left side above the head. Body should be slanted towards the left side and head should be facing the left hand. 

DHEEM - Circle the left hand from above the head and bring near the chest changing from Ardhachandra to Hamsasya. Move body, head and eyes along with the left hand.

DHIMITHA DHINA - Come back to starting posture and sit down properly in Aramandalam.

The entire Adavu is then repeated on the left side.

SAMISHRAM-II



Chollu: THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandalam with both near the chest holding Hamsasya. Eyes in Samam

THAAM  - Change right hand to Ardhachandra and move in a semi-circular manner from in front of the chest .  Stretch the right leg to the right side

THARITHA DHINA  - Move right hand under the left hand and bring it back near the chest while changing to Hamsasya. Drag left leg and move in a semi circular motion in front of the right leg.

DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA - Exactly like 5th THAGANAM on the right side.

THAAM  - Change left hand to Ardhachandra and move in a semi-circular manner from in front of the chest .  Stretch the left leg to the left side

THARITHA DHINA  - Move left hand under the right hand and bring it back near the chest while changing to Hamsasya. Drag right leg and move in a semi circular motion behind the right leg.

DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA - Exactly like 5th THAGANAM on the left side.


  • In this Adavu, THAAM THARITHA DHINA DHEEM DHIMITHA DHINA is repeated 4 times. First two are done like mentioned above. 
  • The 3rd one is  similar to the 1st one except that at THAAM THARITHA DHINA the dancer moves in front with her body turned slightly to the left.
  • The 4th one is  similar to the 2nd one except that at THAAM THARITHA DHINA the dancer moves back with her body turned slightly to the left.

The entire Adavu is then repeated on the left side.

SAMISHRAM-III


Chollu: THANKITA THATHTHI THARIKITA DHIMITHAKA 
                   THLONKU THLANKU THATHIMKINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandalam with both the hands about 6 inches to the left of the chest holding Mushti. Bend towards the left side. Eyes should be looking down on the left side.

THANKITA THATHTHI - While remaining at starting posture, stamp right leg twice.

 THARIKITA - Stretch right leg to the right side diagonally.Move body to the right side. Change both hands from Mushti to Tripathaka , place in front of the chest with right palm facing up and left palm facing down.  Eyes look at the right side.

DHIMITHAKA - Remaining in the previous position, stamp the left leg.

THLONKU  -  Move body from right side to left side. Also turn both hands with left palm facing up and right palm facing down. Keep right leg in Swasthikam behind left leg. Eyes and head face the left side.

THLANKU - Remaining in the previous position, stamp the left leg.

THATHIM - Stamp right leg and turn both hands with right palm facing up and left palm facing down. Eyes and head are on the right side.

KINA - Stamp left leg and turn both hands with left palm facing up and right palm facing downEyes and head are on the left side.

The entire Adavu is repeated on the left side.

SAMISHRAM-IV


Chollu: THANKITA THATHTHI THARIKITA DHIMITHAKA 
                   THLONKU THLANKU THATHIMKINA
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandalam with right hand in front of the chest holding Pathaka and left hand holding Dola .Bend towards the left sideEyes should be looking down on the left side.

THANKITA THATHTHI - While remaining at starting posture, stamp right leg twice.

THARIKITA - Stretch right leg to the right side diagonally.Move body to the right side. Change right hand from Pathaka to Tripathaka in a semi circular motion above the head. Eyes and head will follow the right hand.

DHIMITHAKA - The hand should keep moving and stamp the left leg.

THLONKU - Move the right hand above the head. Keep right leg in Swasthikam behind left leg. Eyes and head should follow the right hand. Body should be slanted to the left side.

THLANKU - Remaining in the previous position, stamp the left leg.

THATHIMKINA - Bring the right to Dola on the right side. Stamp right leg twice and body is slanted to the right side.

This is an extremely graceful Adavu and hence the hand & body should move with fluidity. 

The entire Adavu is repeated on the left side.


August 12, 2013

Mohiniyattam Adavus - Dhaganams (1 to 4)


Now that we have learnt and practised all the 6 Jaganams, we shall now go on to the next set of Mohiniyattam Adavus called the "Dhaganams". Like mentioned before, Dhaganams are adavus which begins with the syllable 'Dh". These are 4 in number. 


DHAGANAM-I



Chollu: DHIKIDHINNAM THADINAM
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandalam with the Pathaka on the right hand and Hamsasya on the left hand (Both hands near the chest). Eyes in Samam

DHIKI - Body remains in the starting posture but lift the right leg and stamp. Eyes should be looking at the hands near the chest.

DHI - Body remains in the starting posture. Lift the right leg and take a step in front on the heel all the while looking at the hands.

NNAM - Place the left leg next to the right and sit in Aramandi. Hands and eyes remaining in the same position as above.

THA - Stretch right leg to the right side on the heel. Move the hand in a circular motion while changing from Hamsasya to Ardhachandra and place it opposite the right knee with index finger pointing down. Body should be bent to the right side.

DINAM - Bring back both hand and leg to the original position but the right hand should be in Hamsasya. Eyes should look straight.



DHAGANAM-II


Chollu: DHANUTHANUMTHARI DHITHTHATHANUMTHARI
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandalam holding Hamsasya on both hands near the chest. Eyes in Samam. 

DHA - Take a step to the right side by keeping the right leg to the right side . Swing the right wrist in a semi-circular motion (opens to Tripathaka) to the right side till the palm faces down. Body is slanted to the left side . Head follow the right hand.  Eyes should be looking at right corner down.

NUTHA - Place the front of the left leg right behind the right leg  . Swing the right wrist in a semi-circular motion  back to the original position till the palm faces up. Body is slanted to the right side. Head  follow the right hand. Eyes should be looking at left corner up.

NUM -  Same as DHA

THARI - Come back to starting posture by the placing the left leg next to the right left sitting in Aramandi. The right hand should circle around the wrist while changing back to Hamsasya. Eyes should follow the circular movement of the right hand.



DHAGANAM-III




Chollu: DHANUTHANUMTHARI DHITHTHATHANUMTHARI
Starting Posture: Sit in Aramandalam. Keep both hands in front of the chest in Tripathaka with the right palm facing down with its fingers over the left fingers whose palms are facing up. The elbows are placed in oval shape.

DHA - Raise the right leg in level with left knee at a distance while in changing the posture to Kalmandalam. Stamp the left leg with the heel. Eyes and body are in Samam.

NUTHA - Keep the right leg down a little away from the left leg

NUM - Place the toes of the left leg behind the right leg

THARI - Move the right leg again slightly away from the left leg and keep it on the floor towards the right corner. The right hand should be placed parallel to the right thigh near the chest with the palm facing up and the left hand at the same position with the palm facing down.

At NUMTHARI both the hands should change from the starting position to the final position gradually . Body and eyes should also move in accordance to the movement of the right hand during the course of the Adavu

DHITHTHATHANUMTHARI -The entire Adavu is repeated on the left side .



DHAGANAM-IV







Chollu: DHANUTHA DHAJANUTHA DHAJANUTHA THADHIMITHA
Starting Posture : Sitting in Aramandalam firmly, hold Tripathaka  in both hands in front of the chest in an oval shape palms facing inside.

DHA - Sit in Aramandalam bending slightly forward to the right . The hands are above the head with the palms facing inside. Eyes should be looking at left corner down.

NUTHA - Stretch the left leg to the left corner while changing the posture to Kalmandalam. The palms should turn and face outside . Eyes should look at the hands.

This entire Adavu is done 4 times. Twice on the right side at DHANUTHA DHAJANUTHA and tiwce on the left at DHAJANUTHA THADHIMITHA.

While moving to the left from right and vice-versa, the body should move gracefully in a semi-circular motion.