The world needs Mohiniyattam: Eugenia Carrillo

Eugenia CarrilloReport of her talk in Samavesh II on Jan 12, 2013, Chennai)

A theatre artiste and contemporary dancer, Eugenia Carrillo is also trained in Trapeze and acrobatics.

In year 2000 she chanced upon a Kathakali performance and got completely drawn to it and after four months she packed her bags to Kerala for learning the artform. After few months of her training in Kathakali she joined Kerala Kalamandalam and started her training in Mohiniyattam under Guru Leelamma and her tryst with the dance form continues.

Speaking at Samavesh II, in Chennai, she revealed her perspective of Mohiniyattam and about taking the dance form to Spain. A lover of Mohiniyattam, Eugenia said her aim is not only to be a Mohiniyattam artiste but to spread Mohiniyattam day by day because she feels that the world needs this beautiful dance form, Mohiniyattam.

Spain and India share many cultural similarities and both celebrate nature in their cultural and artistic expressions. When I first saw Mohiniyattam I felt that I found something that I was looking for, she said. In theatre, we rely mainly on voice for expression but in Kathakali and Mohiniyattam I could feel that it is poetry in motion. These two art forms I thought was a compilation of all that I learnt in dance, theatre and acrobatics. For a Mohiniyattam dancer, the dance is like an instrument which is always with her to create music whenever she wants, she added.

She expressed gratitude all the gurus who shared their knowledge with her; Kalamandalam Leelamma, Padmashri Kshemavathy, Dr Neena Prasad and Padmashri Bharati Sivaji. They have given her the opportunity to taste the nectar of this eternal flower, she said.  


Mohiniyattam for her is more than a style of dance; it is the essence of a particular feminine grace born in the soul of a woman. It is a celebration of nature through human body, a gift to Mother Nature, a subtle beauty which comes from inside. It cleverly uses the circular motion and fluidity and takes it character from the soul.

According to her she said the main strength of Mohiniyattam is the Abhinaya. The slow tempo enfolds nature in all its serenity and creativity.  She has been completely dedicated to Mohiniyattam since 2006 and started teaching the dance form in Spain from 2007. She gives intensive workshops to dancers across Spain and takes regular class in Madrid. To sustain the interest of the students in the beginning stage, she said she makes them practice the adavus in a sequence to classical music which they are familiar with.

In Flamenco, there is a word “Dvende” which she said is similar to the word Rasa in India that means magic created in a dancer when a number of factors come into play. Both dance forms she opined are connected with the passion involved in it and the power of feminine force. 

In today’s world when everyone prefers to put forth a very forcible or aggressive face to get ahead,  Eugenia appealed to women to retain the feminine nature as it is a very powerful one. In western society, people are trying to regain this feminine factor which they lost in the struggle to be ahead. This makes Mohiniyattam very appropriate in the present age, guiding women to find their true nature which is rooted in feminine grace that emanates great beauty, strength and power. She expressed her desire for the unification of Mohiniyattam dancers with the main goal of bringing global audience to Mohiniyattam.  By nurturing a healthy mind and body, Mohiniyattam is a source for aesthetic enjoyment. As her theatre master used to say that ‘the world need artistes’, she said she believes ‘the world needs Mohiniyattam dancers and teachers’ because she feels Mohiniyattam is not only a dance form but a discipline that develops  personality.

She presented a piece she choreographed in Mohiniyattam to “Andaluza” a composition of the famous Spanish composer of the 19th century, Enrique Granados.

Samavesh, an exposition of Mohiniyattam was sponsored by and Nrtyasree Foundation and organised jointly by Lasyatarangini and The Alliance Fransaice of Madras







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