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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 A Disciple of Smt. Shyamala Surendran at Dharani School of Performing Arts, Kochi MFA in Bharatanatyam from SASTRA University under the guidance of Dr. Padma Subramanyam

April 1, 2013


We shall now go on to the basic steps of Mohiniyattam.  Adavus or steps like I mentioned before are the alphabets of classical dance. Amma says "a Mohiniyattam dancer should move her body as gracefully as the  plants in a paddy field moves in the breeze".  The dancer must always have a smile on her face and her expressions must come from within, the only will the "Rasikas' or the spectators will feel involved in the dance.

The Mohiniyattam Adavus have been codified by Smt.Kalyanikutty Amma . Earlier there was no real pattern to the Adavus . It was taken randomly from different sources like Thivuthirakali and  from old manuscripts. Amma was instrumental in setting  pattern to the Adavus and naming each one. Later when the dance form evolved various Mohiniyattam artistes have contributed and innovated the Adavus set by Amma.

The Adavus in Mohiniyattam are divided into 4:-

  1. THAGANAMS - 14 
  2. JAGANAMS - 6
  3. DHAGANAMS - 4
  4. SAMISHRAMS or the VAKRAMS  (varies)

The Cholus or the syllables for each are:

  • THAGANAMS -  The Adavus begin with the sound or syllable "Th"
  1. Thai Thai Thi Ththi
  2. Thi Ththa Thi Ththi
  3. Thai Thai Thi ThThi Thai
  4. Thi Ththa Thi ThThi Thai
  5. Thi ThThi Thai
  6. Thi ThThi Thai
  7. Thai Tha Tha Thai Thai Thom
  8. Thom Dhitha Tha Thaiyum Thi Thaiyum Theyum ThaThtha
  9. Tha Thaiyum Thi Thaiyum Dhimi Thaiyum  Theyum ThaThtha
  10. Tha Thaiyum Thi Thaiyum Dhimi Thaiyum  Theyum ThaThtha
  11. Tha Thai Theyum ThaThtha Dhi Thi Thai
  12. Tha Thai Thi Thai Theyum Theyum
  13. Tha Thai Thi Thai Thom Thai 
  14. Thaiyaththa Dhrikuthaka Tha Thi Kinathom

  • JAGANAMS - The Adavus begin with the sound or syllable "Ja"
  1. Jagam ThaNam ThariNagam ThaNa Thari
  2. Jagam ThaNam Thari Kum Thari Tha - Nagam ThaNam Thari Kum Thari Tha
  3. Jagam ThaNam Thari Kum Thari Tha - Nagam ThaNam Thari Kum Thari Tha                                                               
  4. Jagam ThaNam Thari Kum Thari Tha - Nagam ThaNam Thari Kum Thari Tha
  5. Jagam Thakitha Gathi Nagam Thakitha Gathi Jagam Thakitha Gathi Nagam Thakitha Gathi  
  6. JagaJagaJamThithA JagaJagaJamThithA 

  • DHAGANAMS  - The Adavus begin with the sound or syllable "Dh"
  1. Dhikidhinnam Thadhinnam
  2. DhaNutha DhajaNutha DhajaNutha  Thadhimitha
  3. DhANumThaNumthari ThiththathaNumthari
  4. DhANumThaNum thari ThiththathaNum thari

  • SAMISHRAM/VAKRAM - These are a combination of the above learnt Adavus and hence a little more complicated.
  1. Thamtharitha Dhinam Dheem Tharitha Dhinam
  2. Thamtharitha Dhinam Dheem Tharitha Dhinam
  3. Thankita Thaththi Tharikitadhimithaka ThlonkuThlanku ThathimkiNa
  4. Thankita Thaththi Tharikitadhimithaka ThlonkuThlanku ThathimkiN
  5. Thaththitha kaNa Thakathithakanaka Thikuthathari Tharikitadhina Thlanku Dhinathom
  6. Thaththi ThakaNaka Thakumthari Kitathaka
The above Adavus have been codified and choreographed by Amma. There are more Adavus called the Thirumanams or the finishing Adavus which shall be explained later.

A few more Adavus have been added to Samishram by my Guru, Smt.Shyamala Surendran.
The Cholu for all of them are " Thamtharitha Dhinam Dheem Tharitha Dhinam".

The method for each Adavu are explained in next posts.

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