Kanak Rele

Kanak Rele

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Category: Art

Kanak Rele Profile

  • Name:
  • Kanak Rele
  • Born:
  • June 11, 1937

Kanak Rele Biography

Dr. Kanak Rele is a renowned artist of Mohiniyattam, traditional dance form of Kerala. She is the founder-director of the Nalanda Dance Research Centre and the founder-principal of the Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya in Mumbai. Rele was conferred the Gaurav Puraskar by the Government of Gujarat in 1989 and the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1990. Most recently, in 2013, she was conferred the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India. The title `Kala Vipanchee' by Vipanchee, Kalidas Samman by Government of Maharashtra, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the M S Subbulakshmi Award are the major honours received by her. She has authored one book on Mohiniyattam – ‘Mohinattam, The Lyrical Dance and Bhavaniroopana, A Handbook of Indian Dance Terminology’. She is a qualified lawyer too.


Rele was born in Gujarat and her childhood was spent in Santiniketan and in Kolkata with her uncle. Once she happened to watch Kathakali and Mohiniyattam performed at Santiniketan, which helped her a lot to shape her caliber. Apart from LLB from Government law college Mumbai, she also holds holds a Ph.D in dance from the University of Mumbai. She trained Kathakali under Guru "Panchali" Karunakara Panicker since the age of seven. She was introduced to Mohiniyattam by Kalamandalam Rajalakshmi.


Later she got grants from the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Ford Foundation which prompted her to learn this art form closer. She reached Kerala and shot performances of Mohiniyattom exponents, Kunjukutty Amma, Chinnammu Amma and Kalyanikutty Amma. Later she developed her own style of Mohiniattam and used it for the 'Kanaka Rele School' of Mohinattam. Thus she played a key role in the revival and popularisation of Mohiniattam, all over India.

Published: N/A

Updated: January 23, 2014


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