This a semi-classical dance form containing elements of Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi. It is based on the story of 'Mohini', the mythological seductress. The movements are graceful like that of Odissi and the costumes sober. It combines songs in Malayalam set to Carnatic music.
It is essentially a solo dance. The first references to Mohiniyattam are found in 'Vyavaharamala' composed by Mazhamangalam Narayanan Namboothiri assigned to the 16th Century. In the 19th Century, Swathi Thirunal, the Maharaja of Travancore did much to encourage and stabilize this art form. It was poet Vallathol who again revived it and gave it a standing through Kerala Kalamandalam which he founded in 1930.