“Nrityam geetabhinayam bhava talayutam bhavet”
The idea is that Lord Shiva’s wonderful dance thandav slowly gained the name ‘nritta’ whereas the dance initiated by Goddess Parvati and meant for women has come to be known as ‘nritya.’
(‘The story of lasya’ by Dr. Vibha Dadheech, Nartanam, Apr-July 2006)

Swati Tirunal, the Maharaja of Tiruvitamkur (1829-1847) was a poet and music composer of rare genius and a great connoisseur of performing arts. It was he who took initiative to promote and encourage the dying dance tradition of dasiattam giving it a new vigour, form and content. With the help of famous dance nattuvans of Tamil Nadu like, Vadivelu, Chinnayya, Ponnayya and Sivanandan, Swati Tirunal brought in a refreshingly new style of choreography giving it a discipline, a compact presentation form and syllabus of study. He himself wrote a number of padams and varnams for which he got music composed by Palakkad Parameswara Bhagavathar, his own court musician. He encouraged poets like Irayimman Tampi, Kilimanoor Koil Tampuran and Kuttikunju Tankachi to write padams and varnams. He also invited the famous dancers of Tamil Nadu, Neerajakshi, Sathyabhama and Sugandhavalli to his court for dance performances based on these new compositions. Thus it was in the royal court of Swati Tirunal that Mohiniattam had its first days of glory and acclaim.
- P J Cherian, Essays on the Cultural Formation of Kerala

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