Shyamala Surendran began her journey of dance at the age of 34 under the tutelage of Shri. C E Janardhanan and later under the world renowned dancer duo Shri. V P Dhananjayan Smt. Shanta Dhananjayan of Chennai in 1982. She performed her Arangetram at Guruvayoor Temple and since then she has performed at various venues in India and abroad. In 1986, she moved to Chennai to learn further from Dhananjayans and detailed lessons in Abhinaya from Padma Bhushan Smt. Kalanidhi Narayan. Thereafter she went on to become the disciple of Smt. Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma, the doyen of Mohiniyattom, and her daughter Smt. Sreedevi Rajan.
Shyamala Surendran has toured internationally with her Guru Padma Bhushan Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan and group in order to perform in various platforms in the US, Canada and Europe. Shyamala was in Canada (Toronto) for four months teaching Bharathanatyam..
For Shyamala, dance is a prayer that goes beyond religion and she desired to impart this spiritual love and understanding for the future generation. With that passion in mind she opened Dharani School of Performing Arts in 1987 with 1 student that has now grown into a full-fledged art institution.
Shyamala has many productions to her credit. ‘Thatwamasi,’ the story of Ayyapa in the saptam format, Sthree Shakti on women empowerment, Vanamalee on Chittoorappan(the Diety of Chittor Temple, Kochi), and Dances of Kerala to name a few. Along with her group of dancers, known as Dharani Ensemble, she has travelled all over Europe and US to perform these productions. She has choreographed many solo items too, both in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam.
• 2017 Kalasagar Award for contribution towards Mohiniyattam.
• 2012 Sri Ramakrishna Seva Puraskaram, for outstanding contribution in the field of
• 2012 Honoured for contribution to Arts and Culture by Rotary Club of Cochin South,
North, Knights and International.
• 2005 Kerala Sangeeth Nataka Akademy award for contribution to Mohiniyattam.
Three of her international students have successfully opened dance schools in Germany, Russia and France where Shyamala regularly travels to conduct workshops and perform as well.