Mohini the temptress, is a recurring character in Hindhu mythology. Attom means dance. It is seductive dance performed by women, sensuous in its appeal. In technique Mohiniyattom lies somewhere between Kathakali and Bharathanatyam, Lyrical in the extreme keynote is coquetry. The symmetrical patterns of emotion flow in balanced nuances with smooth footwork, somewhat quickened body movements and special music.
Parallel to the Barathanatyam of Tamil Nadu., solo Mohiniyattom dance is performed only by women. The music is classical carnatic. As the name implies it is the dance of the charmer. Its origin is a matter of conjecture, but it retains a lovely fusion of the parallel streams of dance in the estern and western regions of South India. Combining the formal grace and elegance of Bharathanatyam, with the earthy vigour and dynamism of Kathakali the petalled nrita hands of the one with the wide stance of the other, the delicate expressions of the one with the stylised eye movements of the other, it co- ordinates the instinct with charm, subtle allure and seductive appeal. In the rendering of this style there is enchantment, grace delicacy and passion.
The technical structure of Mohiniyattom is fairly similar to that of Bharathanatyam. There are no abrupt jerks or leaps in Mohiniyattom nor is their any inordinately hard stamping of the foot. The gesture language of Mohiniyattom is largely similar to that of Bharathanatyam but it also incorporates elements from Kathakali tradition. And again, like Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattom too has items of nritta, pure dance, as well as nritya, expressional dance.
Mohiniyattom is mainly the Lasya dance performed strictly according to scriptures of Natya Shastra. The repertory of Mohiniyattom as it is presented now consists of Cholkettu, Varnam, Padam, Thillana, Kaikottikkali, Kummi and Swaram. It is well evident that the Kaikottikkali and Kummi are later additions. Because of the special type of instructions associated with it, the dance presence striking bodily poses and attitudes and exquisitely graceful foot - work. In its gestures and also with regard to the expression of the eye, Mohiniyattom is indebted to Kathakali.