Dr. Kanak Rele - Rejuvenator of Mohini Attam

Dr. Kanak Rele - Rejuvenator of mohini attam

Dr. Kanak Rele is today one of the most distinguished dancer-scholars of India.

Just 40 years ago Mohini Attam had reached a point where only a few items from its once rich repertoire were remembered. A research grant in 1970-71 from The Ford Foundation enabled Dr. Kanak to film the traditional dances of the surviving exponents of Mohini Attam; late Smt. Kunjukuttyamma, late Smt. Chinammuamma and late Smt. Kalyanikuttyamma. She has analysed this recorded data with diligent care in light of the 'shastric' tenets and arrived at an authoritative format for the technique of Mohini Attam. For the past 20 years she has been collaborating with noted Kerala scholar Kavalam Narayana Panikkar wherein old and almost forgotten dance items of the Kerala tradition have been revived and cast in Sopana mode. With her deep knowledge of the technique of the shastras and native creative brilliance Dr. Kanak has choreographed these items which today total more than 50 in number. Thus Mohini Attam now has a rich repertoire which it can claim all to be its own.


Dr. Kanak's deep study of the dynamics of Indian dancing has resulted in her theory of “Body Kinetics in Dance” which is internationally recognized. It elucidates the body movements in dance. This system has been further developed by Dr. Kanak to create a well defined notation system.