The Guru: Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti

Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti acquired her initial training from Guru Surendra Nath Jena at the Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi. Her Odissi flourished and developed under two stalwart proponents of the dance style, the renowned dancer late Padmashri Sanjukta Panigrahi and her guru Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, the doyen of Odissi. Chitra has performed in reputed venues across the United States, India and Japan to outstanding reviews.

Chitra continues to pay tribute to her beloved art form in her capacity as the Director of Nrityalaya, a school of her own founding, in Potomac, Maryland. Nrityalaya is one of the oldest Odissi school in the United States and has established a tradition of service to Odissi through teachings and performances for nearly 30 years. Under Chitra's direction, Nrityalaya not only inculcates a pure traditional style of Odissi in its students, but also exposes them to ongoing innovation in the dance form through workshops that it organizes. Over the years, Nrityalaya has sponsored concert tours of the Panigrahis and workshops by several famed Odissi artists. In addition, Chitra has choreographed and produced numerous dance dramas including Mahatma Gandhi, Meera, Sudama Charitram, Dasavatar, Karna and the Gita Govindam. Chitra and her students have performed pieces, both of her own composition and those utilizing traditional choreography, at various International Odissi Dance Festivals and at prestigious venues in the United States such as the Smithsonian Institutions, Washington D.C., and also in Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Pondicherry and New Delhi, in India, to rave reviews. She has been credited for maintaining the classical purity and tradition of Odissi in the United States.

Chitra is the recipient of several grants from the Arts Council of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Commission on the Humanities. In 2002, during her trip to Orissa, she was honored by several famous gurus of Odissi for her unrelenting work to promote and propagate the tradition of Odissi in the United States. Apart from being a dancer and choreographer par excellence, Chitra holds a PhD in biochemistry and is currently the Deputy Director of the Office of Research Training and Minority Health at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland.