Kalakshetra literally means ( Kala - Arts, Kshetra - Field or Holy place ) a Holy place of Arts. This Centre was started in1936 in order that India may once again revive and develop its ancient culture and set a standard of true Art in its new life after its freedom. It seeks to build up the character of the young through the Art and create a true Centre of International Understanding through the one universal language - Art.

In the words of Dr. Annie Besant -

"Art is an attempt to bring down within the vision of ordinary mortals some of the Divine Beauty of which the artist catches glimpses, strives to transalate these into colours, sounds, forms, words, by creating pictures, melodies, sculptures, poems and other literature."

"Beauty diversified into the arts is the true refiner and uplifter of humanity. It is the instrument of culture, the broadener of the heart, the purifying fire which burns all prejudices, all pettiness, a coarseness. Without it, true democracy is impossible, equality of social intercourse an empty dream."

"Art is the international language in which mind can speak to mind, heart to heart, where lips are dumb. The arts need no transalations, they speak the universal mother-tongue. Centuries do not age them, Custom does not stale them. Boundaries do not exist for them. Their message is for every country, for every tongue. Art will permeate the whole atmosphere of the New Civilisation which is on the threshold."

At the College of Fine Arts, music, dancing, painting and crafts are taught to students of both sexes from India and from other parts of the world. A "gurukula" atmosphere prevails within the campus and students are encouraged to lead simple lives. Throughout the year, special cultural programmes are arranged for the benefit of the students, so that they may learn to appreciate true art and the ancient culture of india.

From its inception, the College's faculty has included teachers of repute. To name just a few, Tiger Varadacharya, Veena Krishnamacharya, Mysore Vasudevacharya, Karaikudi Sambasiva Ayyar, Budalur Krishnamurti Sastri, M.D. Ramanathan and Papanasam Sivan in music, in addition to Rukmini devi herself, Pandanallur Meenakshisundaram Pillai and Mylapore Gowri Ammal in Bharata Natyam and Chandu Pannikar in Kathakali.

The curriculam of the dance students includes classes on dance theory which is based on the work Abhinaya Darpana, and selected portions of other ancient texts on art and literature. The traditional form of dance in all its purity and dignity is the trademark of Kalakshetra. Music is a subsidiary for all dance students. They are encouraged to learn vocal music.

The art of Indian make-up, traditional costumes and theatre craft are learnt gradually by the advanced and post graduate students through participation in the various Kalakshetra productions and in their preparation.

Among Kalakshetra's major activities is the one relating to production and presentation of dance-dramas and the like. Apart from solo Bharata Natya recitals and such items as Kummi and Kolattam (folk dances), a considerable part of Rukmini Devi's work in Kalakshetra pertains to new productions. This work is indeed its unique contribution to art.

These performances serve several purposes:
1. They are part of Kalakshetra's effort to make available to the public the best of Indian classical arts.
2. They are intended as an essential training for the students and teachers, who become thoroughly familiar with preparing for and participating in public performances which, though performed by amateurs, are kept as far as possible to professional standards.