(Last Updated on : 23/03/2015)
Kalanidhi Narayanan is a notable Indian classical dancer
and teacher of Bharatnatyam
. She is known for being the early non-devadasi girl to learn the dance
form and perform it on stage in the 1930s and 1940s. She is one of the notable teachers of abhinaya
. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan
Award, India's third highest civilian honour in 1985.
Early Life of Kalanidhi Narayanan
She was born as Kalanidhi Ganapathi on December 7, 1928 in Tamil Nadu
to Sumitra and Ganapati. She developed an interest in this dance since an early age. She started learning at the age of seven from various gurus including Kamakshi Ammal, daughter of Veena Dhanam, for Padams and Javalis and Manakkal Sivarajan for vocal lessons. She learnt nritta (dance) from noted guru Kannappa Pillai and Abhinaya (Art of expression) from Chinnayya Naidu and Mylapore Gauri Ammal.
Career of Kalanidhi Narayanan
She made her debut on stage at the age of 12 at the Senate House in Chennai
, for the Madras Music Academy. She had a strong dance career in the 1940s. However, she had to halt her dance career at the age of sixteen mainly for two reasons- her mother expired and she was married into a conservative family.
Her second stage of dance career started at the age of 46 after a gap of 30 years. She resumed her career since 1973 on the insistence of noted art-patron, Y. G. Doraiswamy who had seen her performances as a teen. Under his instruction, she brushed her abhinaya skills from dancer Alarmel Valli
Her dedication gave her the courage to reeducate herself in dance. She started attending dance performances and Arangetram in the city. She also enrolled in a course on dance theory on Bharatanatyam by Dr. Padma Subramanium
. Gradually more students started coming to her and in the coming decades she established herself as the most sought after teacher for abhinaya. Some of her notable disciples are A. Lakshmanaswamy, Uma Vasudevan (Montreal), Ramya Harishankar (California), Hema Rajagopalan (Chicago), Subashree Narayanan (Jacksonville, FL/Bangalore, India), Minal Prabhu (India), Priya Govind (India) and Sharmila Biswas
In December 7, 2003, various dance teachers and her disciples, celebrated her 75th birthday at Luz Community Hall in Chennai. The occasion was marked by a two day seminar on abhinaya which saw prominent gurus of Bharatanatyam participating.
Achievements of Kalanidhi Narayanan
In 1985, she was honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award.
In 1990, she was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Bharatnatyam, given by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama.
In 1998, she was awarded Kalidas Samman.