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Classical dance legend Kanak Rele passes away

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Classical dance legend Kanak Rele passed away at the age of 85. The Mohiniyattam exponent, who was awarded the first Guru Gopinath National Puraskaram of the Government of Kerala. Kanak Rele was the founding director of the Nalanda Dance Research Institute, Mumbai and the founding principal of the Nalanda Dance Kala Mahavidyalaya. She played a major role in popularizing Mohiniyattam and making it globally prominent.

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Life and Career of Kanak Rele 

Born on June 11, 1937, in Gujarat to Shivdas and Madhuri, Kanak Rele spent her childhood in Santiniketan, West Bengal. It was during this time that she turned to dance and became fascinated with Kathakali and Mohiniyattam. At the age of seven, she learned Kathakali under Guru Karunakara Panicker. Kanak Rele, who loved Kerala and its art forms, studied Mohiniyattam under Kalamandalam Rajalakshmi. Although she studied law at the University of Mumbai and obtained a diploma in international law from the University of Manchester, she chose dance as her field.

Kanak Rele received various awards and prizes over her nearly eight-decade-long dancing career, including the Padma Shri (1989), Padma Bhushan (2013), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1994), Kalidas Samman (2006), M. S. Subbulak.

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