This is a popular dance form from the Indian state of Kerala, with the main theme being love and devotion to the Indian deity Vishnu. Mohiniyattam literally means ‘The Dance of the Enchantress’.
The character of Mohini is said to be an avatar of Vishnu, associated with two specific stories. Story1 - Vishnu appears in the form of the Enchantress Mohini to trick the demons out of their share of the Nectar of Immortality (Amrit) which they obtain by churning the Ocean of Milk. Story2 - Vishnu also takes the form of Mohini to save Shiva from a demon called Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura had procured a blessing from Shiva that anyone upon whose head he lay his hand would burn to ashes. Bhasmasura then decided to test this on Shiva himself, causing Shiva to run away in horror. Mohini intercepts them and challenges the demon to a dance contest with the prize being the chance to wed her. The demon follows Mohini’s every dance move until Mohini places her hand over her own head. The demon follows suit and places his hand atop his own head, burning him to ashes.
When reading into the history and mythology of various Indian classical dances, I was quite fascinated by the stories behind this dance form and was inspired to draw it.
For this drawing, I decided to place a Mohiniyattam dancer beside a demon with a fiery hand trying to mimic her every movement, ending with placing his hand atop his own head, leading to his own fiery demise. I considered adding Shiva hiding behind a tree somewhere in the background but it seemed to disturb the balance of the piece so I relegated it for another time.