Sridevi Ajai Thirumalai is an acclaimed Bharathanatyam dancer who, having trained under Gurus Padmini Ramachandran, Narmada, and Rhadha in India, has performed extensively in India and the United States with solo programs and dance productions.
Bharathanatyam is an ancient divine dance style from South India which dates back to the 2nd century. In its present form, however, Bharathanatyam developed about 200 years ago. Bhava (expression), Raga (melody), and Tala (rhythm) are the basic elements of this style. A Bharathanatyam performance embraces elements of pure dance, called nittra, with drama. Dynamic and earthly, the style involves intricate footwork, hand gestures, and facial expressions, which are performed to live music. Themes depict religious stories from epics and mythology well known to the community.
In addition to being a touring artist, Thirumalai founded the Natyamani School of Dance (1992) where she dedicated to promoting this traditional art form., She has over 150 students from beginner to advanced levels. Like other schools of its kind, Natyamani has guided students in over 20 solo dance debuts, known as Arangetram. She and her students frequently perform for various charitable organizations and regularly travel to India for dance performances. In 2010, Sridevi Ajai Thirumalai was named a Mass Cultural Council Finalist in the Traditional Arts.