Hailing from a family of musicians and writers, Rathna Kumar is an internationally renowned dancer, teacher and choreographer. She trained initially in Bharatanatyam under Guru KJ Sarasa, and in Kuchipudi under gurus Vedantam Jagannatha Sharma and Vempati Pedda Satyam. She later learnt from Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam at the Kuchipudi Art Academy in Chennai. A child prodigy, Rathna Kumar was known as ‘Rathna Papa’ and performed around India from a very young age. She emerged as a front ranking Kuchipudi dancer in the 1970s. She subsequently moved to the United States, where she established the Anjali Centre for Performing Arts (1975), the first Indian dance school in Texas and one of the first in the US, and the Samskriti Society for Indian Performing Arts (1994) at Houston. She has served as Dance Instructor at Rice University, USA, since 2002. As a performer-teacher and as a member of several organizations and committees, she has contributed significantly to the practice and promotion of India’s dance forms in the USA.