Rathna Kumar is an internationally renowned danseuse, teacher and choreographer, and the Founder-Director of the Anjali Center for Performing Arts, the first Indian dance school in Texas, established in 1975, and one of the first in the US. An exponent of two major styles of Indian classical dance, Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi, Rathna has learned her art from two great Gurus – Kalaimamani Smt. K. J. Sarasa and Padma Bhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam – and has the distinction of being the former’s very first student, and one of the latter’s first disciples. She has also briefly studied Abhinaya with Padma Bhushan Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan.
Rathna has trained over 2000 students from different ethnic backgrounds from all over the US. She has been recognized by many organizations, such as the Young Audiences of Houston, Miller Theater Advisory Board, Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and UNESCO’s International Dance Council, for being a true cultural ambassador of Indian performing arts in the US. Her innovative illustrated book on Bharata Natyam fundamental technique, ADAVU, is now in its third edition, and a sequel, Kuchipudi Adavu is in print.