Smitha Rajan

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Smitha Rajan
Smitha Rajan.JPG
Smitha Rajan in a Mohiniyattam posture
Background information
Origin Kerala, India
Genres Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi

Smitha Rajan (born 1969) is a Mohiniyattam performer from Kerala and granddaughter of the legendary Indian classical dancer couple of Padma Shri Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma. Her mother Sreedevi Rajan is a noted Mohiniyattam Guru and Smitha's teacher. Her father was the late T R Rajappan.


Smitha Rajan started her training in dance at her maternal grandparent’s residence in Tripunithura off Kochi. Blessed with the perfect ambiance of dance and music, for young Smitha, learning dance was something that was as natural as learning to speak in her mother tongue. Smitha’s aunt, Kala Vijayan (a recipient of the Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award for Mohiniyattam) was the first person to watch the talent in young Smitha. During a master class at her grand parent’s institution, Kerala Kalalayam in Tripunithura, her aunt saw little Smitha performing a full Cholkettu (the first item in a typical Mohiniyattam repertoire) along with the senior students. From then Guru Kala Vijayan started training her in Bharatanatyam and Smitha did her Arangetram in Bharatanatyam at the age of 4. Her mother, Guru Sreedevi Rajan, a renowned dancer and teacher, taught Smitha her first lessons in Mohiniyattam and Smitha performed her Arangetram in Mohiniyattam at the age of 6. She later mastered in Mohiniyattam from her legendary grand mother too. Her grand father Guru Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair taught her Kathakali and fine tuned her Mukhajabhinaya (facial expressions). Smitha has also undergone training in Classical Carnatic Music under Professor Kalyanasundaram for over 8 years. At Kerala Kalalayam she was trained in Kuchupudi as well for 5 yrs. She had the unique blessings to start teaching these styles at the parent institution Kerala Kalalayam from 1983 at the age of 14 which she continued till 1990.

She turned professional dancer at the age of 12 and had accompanied her grand mother, her mother and her aunt all over India and abroad to numerous venues during the pursuit of popularizing Mohiniyattam in 1980. She was the leading performer of Kerala Kalalayam from 1979 to 1992. This has given her a very strong underpinning and confidence in handling this dance style with great ease and versatility. She has assisted her mother, grandmother and her aunt in teaching Mohiniyattam to a number of today’s Mohiniyattam performers. She carried the complete essence of her grandmother’s teachings and is considered the Flagship student and performer of the Mohiniyattam which, Guru Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma had learned from Kalamandalam and enhanced and popularized. Today Smitha lives in St. Louis, MO, USA along with her family and is running the institution Nrithyakshetra “Temple of Dance” as a branch of the institution her mother Sreedevi Rajan had started at Kochi in association with the parent institution Kerala Kalalayam.

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