Mohini & Parama Padam: Life’s Game of Snakes & Ladders

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Mohini & Parama Padam: Life’s Game of Snakes & Ladders

Part of the Indian Performing Arts Convention – Melbourne Australia, 19-25 September 2022 ‘ a carnival of Carnatic music and a bounty of Bharatanatyam!

Two virtuoso dance performances from Singapore’s award winning Apsaras Arts Dance Company. With Seema Hari Kumar and Mohanapriyan Thavarajah.


Bharatanatyam performance by Seema Hari Kumar (Singapore)

As the only female avatar of Lord Vishnu, Mohini is the quintessence of beauty, charm and mysticism. It is no wonder that She is able to enchant her opponents and uses her femininity as a powerful weapon to achieve her purpose.

While Mohini possesses all the attributes akin to an apsara (celestial nymph), she does not seek to distract those seeking the paramapurusha (spiritual reality) away from serving the divinity. Rather, as the embodiment of all worldly desires, she attracts those entrapped in material reality and uses their weakness to her advantage.

In this dance theatre, we explore the character of Mohini and the significance of her avatar through her appearances in Hindu mythology. With a narrative woven using pavakathakalis (Kathakali puppets), the production will highlight the various instances in which Mohini acts as a Creator, Preserver and Destroyer.

Mohini was developed as part of the IPAC Residency program in 2019 by Seema Hari Kumar, mentored by Priyadarsini Govind, music composition by Dr Rajkumar Bharathi and Chothrapoornima Sathish.

Parama Padam – Life’s Game of Snakes and Ladders

Bharatanatyam performance by Mohanapriyan Thavarajah (Singapore)

Parama Padam was created by the followers of the Vaishnavite faith, with the duo purpose of entertainment and teaching moral values of human life. On the game board, there are a hundred squares which are illustrated with Snakes and Ladders. The ladders in the game represent good virtues and the snakes indicate vices. Ladders take you up as the good deeds take us to heaven, while the snakes bring you down as to a cycle of re-births. The final goal is to reach Vaikuntha or heaven. This game which originated in India in the 10th century CE, was popularised world-wide as ‘Snakes and Ladders’ by the British, during the 18th century.

Parama Padam was conceptualised and choreographed by Mohanapriyan Thavarajah, music composition by Dr Rajkumar Bharathi, Artistic Direction by Aravinth Kumarasamy. Parama Padam was premiered in Singapore in 2019, and since then it has toured to Malaysia (2019), France (2021), Sri Lanka (2022) and India (2022).