“The dancer who does not have some idea of sculpture, the dancer who does not have a sense of painting and of the music cannot really be a great dancer because the same spirit that is embodied in dancing is embodied in painting and in the other arts.” – RUKMINI DEVI
The intent of the institute is to create a consummate performer, one who is an adept dancer, and has a thorough understanding of the theoretical, literary and musical basis of the traditional art. Therefore, language, music and theory are subjects that support the main subject of study. Each dance student must study vocal music as a subsidiary subject. Dance students are also encouraged to study mridangam (a percussion instrument) in order to strengthen their understanding of tala or rhythm. Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit, the languages most commonly found in the poetry of Carnatic music are part of the syllabus.
The Kalakshetra dancer is renowned for his/her impeccable form. One of Rukmini Devi’s most far-sighted changes to the dance was in the teaching of the basic steps or adavus of Bharata Natyam. She classified the various adavus, and refined many of the movements, giving them geometric precision (based on some principles fron the Yajur veda) and grace.
Dance drama, is part of the legacy of Rukmini Devi. Kalakshetra has a repertory company that performs extensively through the year both at the festibals in the institute as well as in other cities both in India and abroad. Dance and music students of the institute have the benefit of listening to the music of great stalwarts and seeing the choreography of Rukmini Devi who was perhaps the greatest choreographer of the previous century.