April 20, 2009
The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, houses an impressive collection of Indian paintings and sculptures. On Friday evening, the setting was just right to witness a classical Indian dance performance. Christine Knoke, curator of the museum introduced the dancers Bharati Shivaji and Vijayalakshmi.
often called the Dance of the Enchantress, is a classical dance form that
originated in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Bharati Shivaji and
her daughter-disciple Vijayalakshmi are directors of Center for Mohiniattam.
Regarded as the leading exponents of Mohiniattam, they have revitalized
the dance form through innovation and research.
Bharati Shivaji is the total epitome of elegance and beauty. She is exquisite in her facial expressions and dance technique, and her knowledge in the art form is vast. Bharati and Vijayalakshmi's performance revealed the very best of Mohiniattam encompassing fluid circular movements of the torso, gentle lifts, and deep bends. The professionally recorded music that accompanied the dance performance was of high order and provided the audience a wholesome experience.
is a recipient of numerous awards including India's highest honor Padma
Shri for her research and development of the art of Mohiniattam.
Iyengar is the choreographer and artistic director of Rangoli Dance Company.