The Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose was founded by its Artistic Director, Mythili Kumar in 1980, to present innovative and professional quality performances of South Indian classical dance forms.
Since 1986, Abhinaya has staged several full-length dance dramas choreographed by Mythili Kumar, such as Shiva – the Cosmic Dancer (1986), The Splendor of the Infinite (1987), Dancing Divinities (1988), Epic Emotions (1990), Women Triumphant (1990), Krishna the Enchanter & Gems of Tradition (1992), Festival of Dussera (1992), Through the Ages (1993), The Life of Annamacharya (1994), Gandhi – The Mahatma (1995), Multi-Splendored Ramayana (1996), The Ramayana (1997), Mayiladum Azhagan (1998), Love Exquisite (1999), There Once was a Princess (2002), Surya the Sun God (2003), Varnamala (2003), Poetry in Motion (2004), and Timeless Traditions (2004). Since 2000, Abhinaya’s shows have featured the choreography of Guru C.V. Chandrasekhar, Rasika Kumar, Malavika Walia and Anjana Dasu as seen in the following productions – Saakhyam (2005), Ritusamhara (2006), Prithvi – The Earth (2007), Rivers – A Mystical Journey (2008), Nritya Sangati – Dance Progressions (2009), Jwala- The Immortal Flame (2011), Gandhi (2012), Arjuna (2014), Nritya Dhaara (2015), and Vanara Leela – monkeys in the Ramayana (2016). From 2017 to 2019 Abhinaya has presented the theme of social justice through the experiences of Cesar Chavez (Si Se Puede – 2017, 2019), and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (I have a Dream – 2019)
Since 1991, Abhinaya has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, California Arts Council, and City of San Jose, for its collaborations with musicians, Kathak and modern dance companies, Japanese Taiko drummers, and a Balinese ensemble. The company has appeared several times in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and in several different Asian Performing Arts Festivals. Abhinaya has been invited to present its acclaimed dance theater production, Gandhi – The Mahatma, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and in 2007 to New York and New Jersey. In August 2010, Abhinaya celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a special two-day series- Natya Samarpan. Abhinaya’s 35th anniversary was celebrated in December 2015 titled Nritya Dhaara- flow of dance. Abhinaya has also won recognition through the Isadora Duncan awards committee for its collaboration with SJTaiko and its 2016 production of Vaanara Leela.
On December 4th 2021, Abhinaya celebrated its 40+ anniversary honoring many artists and volunteers, and presenting performances by both the company and the Junior dance company.
Abhinaya offers ongoing classes for students of all ages in San Jose and Monte Sereno. Over one hundred and forty students have graduated from Abhinaya with their solo debut (Arangetram) performances.