Mohiniyattam is a typical dance form of Kerala which has had a chequered history. Literally it means “the dance of the enchantress”. In Mohiniyattam it is the “lasya” element that is dominant. The origin of Mohiniyattam is traced to the Dasiyattam developed by the Devadasis, in Kerala temples in the past.Swathi Tirunal who was a generous patron of all fine arts extended his patronage to Mohniyattam as well.Inspite of the encouragement given by Swati Thirunal, Mohiniyattam did not win much respectability as an art form. It was left to Malayalam poet Vallathol to exend his patronage to this art by including it in the syllabus of the Kerala Kalamandalam.
The exponents of this art form at Kalamandalam include Chinnaammu Amma and Kalayanikutti Amma and they evolved a typical Kalamandalam style for staging Mohiniyattam, even the costumes and the make up having a distinctiveness of their own.
In fact, Mohiniyattam as a dance form has been developed in Kalamandalam to such perfection as to attract the attention of students and teachers of art from other parts of India and even abroad.