Shoba Sharma, a disciple of Dhananjayans has been studying Bharathanaatyam since the age of 7. Shoba was regarded as one of the foremost upcoming dancers while in India and performed at several prestigious centers throughout the country. After arriving in the United States in 1986, Shoba quickly established herself as one of the top performers of Bharathanaatyam in North America.
In 1991 Shoba established Naatya Academy in Philadelphia, PA. Shoba has since relocated to San Diego, CA and continues to explore new avenues to present her traditional work and to create inter-cultural artistic conversations.
Sri V P Dhananjayan and wife Shanta Dhananjayan, popularly known as the Dhananjayans, have become a legendary dancing couple. Having established their own academy Bharata Kalanjali in 1968, the two outstanding disciples of the world renowned Rukmini Devi have become International celebrities.
The Dhananjayans have received innumerable awards throughout the years. Amongst these, some of the most prestigious awards include the Naatyaachaarya Award, the Birla Award, and the Padma Bhushan Award which was presented to them for their development, preservation and propagation of the best of Kalakshetra tradition in Bharathanaatyam through their dance academy Bharata Kalanjali.
Rukmini Devi Arundale is the most important revivalist in the Indian classical dance form of Bharathanaatyam. Recognizing the beauty and spiritual value of this art form, she not only learned the dance, but also presented it on stage in spite of strong public protests. She later went on to found the prestigious Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai, India.
Rukmini Devi features in India Today’s list of “100 People Who Shaped India.” She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956, and Sangeet Natak Academy Fellowship in 1967. Rukmini Devi was also an Indian theosophist and an activist for animal rights, animal welfare and vegetarianism.