Veteran Classical dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama passed away on 13 September 2015 in Palakkad district of Kerala following brief illness. She was 77. Satyabhama is credited with purifying the Mohiniyattam dance form by weeding out external influences.
Sathyabhama was born at Shoranur in 1937 and had started learning classical dance at a very early age. She performed for the first time in 1955 during the silver jubilee of the Kalamandalam (Kerala's Deemed University of Art and Culture) in front of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
She was the first woman to be the Vice Principal of Kerala Kalamandalam and later she became its Principal till she retired in 1992.
She was regarded as a doyen of Mohiniyattam and was well-known for her experimental reforms in this classical dance form. She also brought changes to the mohiniyattam costumes. The designs she created follows Kerala traditions in color, pattern and have become the signature of Kalamandalam style.
She has left a rich legacy of 35 Mohiniyattom compositions, the details of which are narrated in her book, Mohiniyattam- history, techniques and performance.
Various awards were conferred onto her for her perfection in various dance forms including Padma Shri (2014), Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award (1976), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1994), Kerala Government’s Nruthya Natya Puraskaram (2005), Kalamandalam Award (1988) etc.
About Mohiniyattam dance
• Mohiniyattam is a classical dance form of Kerala and is considered as a very graceful form of dance meant to be performed as solo recitals by women.
• The word Mohiniyattam means dance of the enchantress and it has been derived from the words Mohini meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and the word aattam means graceful body movements.
• It is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
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