Bharati Shivaji is an Indian classical dancer of Mohiniyattam, choreographer and author, known for her contributions to the art form by way of performance, research and propagation. She is the founder of Center for Mohiniyattam, a dance academy promoting Mohiniyattam and the co-author of two books, Art of Mohiniyattam and Mohiniyattam. She is a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman. The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2004, for her contributions to Indian classical dance.
Smitha Rajan one of India's best and internationally acclaimed Mohiniyattam performers, is well known for the spiritual intensity with personified grace, that she brings to the stage. She comes from a very rich classical tradition, which spans more than three generations. She is the granddaughter of one of India's finest classical dance performers, (Late) Guru Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and the mother of Mohiniyattam, (Late) Guru Kalamandalam Kallyanikutty Amma. Recipient of numerous accolades which includes the Sangeetha Natak Academy Puraskar, Smitha has been performing for the past 4 decades with at most adherence to the puritan classical tradition of Mohiniyattam which is well documented by her legendary grandmother. Natural learning opportunity Smitha received under her legendary grandparents, her mother, Guru Sreedevi Rajan and her aunt, Guru Kala Vijayan had laid in her the unique blend of lasya (grace) and abhinaya (facial expression). Smitha got the rare opportunity to extensively travel along with her grandmother, assisting her during her lecture demonstrations and master classes conducted for Mohiniyattam. Her abhinaya and gestures were fine-tuned by the great Krishnan Nair himself which has tuned in her the ability to transform and enact multiple characters in this Eka aharya (single costume) dance style as a solo performer.
Well versed in Kathakali, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi as well, since her early teens, her primary focus has been Mohiniyattam and commitment to the rich heritage handed over to her by her legendary grandmother. Smitha's artistic excellence as a teacher and performer is been illustrated across the western worlds for the past 17 years. With her wide teaching experience, which spans more than 3 decades she has numerous students around the globe, many of whom are well known dancers in respective fields. Her pursuit for excellence in Mohiniyattam had brought to her numerous critical acclaims from well-known critics in NY Times and other prestigious publications. Smitha spends her time both in USA and India, and attends major dance festivals in USA and India apart from her world tours. She is the artistic director of the institution, Nrithyakshetra (Temple of Dance), based in St.Louis, Missouri.