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Smitha Rajan in a Mohiniyattam posture
|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, 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. 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. She taught 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. She has assisted her mother, grandmother and her aunt in teaching Mohiniyattam to a number of today’s Mohiniyattam performers. She is recognized in the field of Mohiniyattam as the complete essence of her grandmother’s teachings and considered the flagship student and performer of the Mohiniyattam style which Guru Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma had enhanced and popularized from the teachings at Kalamandalam. Today, Smitha lives in St. Louis, Missouri, along with her family and is running the institution Nrithyakshetra “Temple of Dance” as a branch of the institution Guru Sreedevi Rajan had started at Kochi, in association with the parent institution Kerala Kalalayam.