Born on 11 June 1937 in Bombay, Shnmati Kanak Rele is a well-known figure in the world of Indian dance. Both an
artist and a dance educator, she has had the benefit of learning Kathakali from Karunakar Paniker and Raghavan
Nair, Bharatanatyam from Nana Kasar, and Mohiniattam from Chinnammu Amma.
She has distinguished herself as a performer, presenting her art at festivals of dance over the past fifty years_She is regarded as a leader in the field of dance education, having established and run the Nalanda Dance Research Centre founded in 1966, and the Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya founded in 1973. Earlier, as Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Bombay, Shrimati Rele played a key role in introducing courses in dance and other arts in that university. She was awarded a PhD by Bombay University for her research on Mohtniattam, which is among the early academic explorations of this traditional dance. Shrimati Rele's stage productions, besides solo recitals, include a number of dance-dramas. These are enriched by elements drawn from various art forms of Kerala. Shrimati Rele has conducted lecture-demonstrations under the auspices of institutions within the country and abroad. She has authored two books on dance - Mohini Attam: the Lyrical Dance (1992), and Bhaava Niropana (1996) - and has edited a Handbook of Indian Dance Terminology (1992). She has besides published a number of articles and papers in periodicals connected with dance.
For her service in the field of dance, Shrimati Kanak Rele has been conferred honours which include the Gaurav Puraskar (1989) of the Government of Gujarat, the Padma Shri (1990), and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1994).
Shrimati Kanak Rele is elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi for her contribution to Indian dance.