Nirmala Paniker has played an important role in the enrichment of Mohiniattam by introducing a methodology for learning all the hand gestures in Mohiniattam using the Sanskrit slokas for the first time in the history of Mohiniattam.
As a research scholar, she has investigated the links between the dance forms practiced by the women of ancient Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Her main contribution consists in the revitalisation of those Mohiniyattam techniques that had largely been overlooked in the recent repertoire, most notably its desi or regional aspect.
Nirmala Paniker also rejuvenated the desi aspects of Mohiniattam called Poli, Easal, Kurathy and Chandanam. She has choreographed 'Leela' (based on the great poet Kumaranasan's poem Leela in the form of Mohiniattam Saptam). Her contributions include many songs written by her (Varnams, Keerthanams etc) for Mohiniattam, choreographed and taught to the new generation.
Trained first in Bharatnatyam and then in Mohiniyattam she undertook research to rewrite the forgotten chapters of the Mohiniyattam technique and repertoire.
Nirmala Paniker has established Natanakaisiki - A Research and Performing Centre for the Female Dance and Theatre Traditions of Kerala(A Special Wing of Natana Kairali).
She has played a key role in the revival of Nangiar Koothu at Irinjalakuda.