Kalakshetra is an institution not merely for the development of art. It exists in order that youth may be educated, not to become artists alone, but to have the right attitude to life, the right attitude to art, in order that they may be of great service to our country.
Kalakshetra, now officially known as the Kalakshetra Foundation, is an arts and cultural academy dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art and crafts, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music. Based in Chennai, India, the academy was founded in January 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale. Under Arundale’s guidance, the institution achieved national and international recognition for its unique style and perfectionism. In January 1994, an Act of the Parliament of India recognised the Kalakshetra Foundation as an “Institute of National Importance”.
The Foundation was established by Rukmini Devi Arundale, along with her husband, George Arundale, a well-known theosophist, in Adyar, Chennai, in 1936. She invited not only the best students but also noted teachers, musicians and artists to be a part of this institution.
Year-long celebrations, including lectures, seminars and festivals marked her 100th birth anniversary, on February 29, 2004, at Kalakshetra and elsewhere in many parts of the world. Also on February 29, a photo exhibition on her life opened at the Lalit Kala Gallery in New Delhi, and President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam released a photo-biography, written and compiled by Sunil Kothari, with a foreword by former president Ramaswamy Venkataraman. In 2016, marking its 80th year, the Kalakshetra Foundation held a ‘Remembering Rukmini Devi’ festival of music and dance.