29, February, 2016 | The Hindu
Mohniyattam artiste Guru Smitha Rajan guides the students through the concept and central theme of the Suma Sayaka Varnam, individual…
Smitha Rajan is a third-generation exponent of Mohiniyattam, who has pioneered the ancient art form across the world. Her school and disciples embody her single-minded approach towards perfecting her craft. Her grandmother, Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma, was the first student of Mohiniyattam at the historic Kerala Kalamandalam, and she continues to spread the lore and rituals of the dance form around the globe. Belonging to a family of renowned exponents of Mohiniyattam, she has managed to carve out her own place in the pantheons of Indian classical dance. Her adhesion to traditions while making a conscious effort to communicate with her audience on a spiritual level has always set her apart.
While she is proficient at Kathakali, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi as well, her heart always lay with Mohiniyattam. The freedom of expression and ability to speak with her viewers, a luxury accorded to her by Mohiniyattam, is what made her finally choose the art form. She also strongly believes in furthering the task of revitalizing the art form that started with her grandmother, the legendary Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma.
She firmly believes in sticking to the core principles of the art form. For her, her chosen dance form represents her roots, her beliefs and her surroundings in a very natural way. Her students are learners of the beliefs and origins of this art form, along with being excellent proponents of the same. Her legacy lies in cementing Mohiniyattam’s appeal globally through her own work and through the activities of those she has taught.
She established the Nrithyakshetra or Temple of Dance in St.Louis, Missouri, in 1999. This center has disseminated teachings on Indian classical dance for two decades now. Her own teaching experience spans over 30 years, and she extensively tours both in India and abroad each year.