Born On: 4th February, 1943
Born In: Madras, India
Career: Bharatanatyam Dancer
Dr. Padma Subramaniam (born: 4th February, 1943) is a legendary classical dancer who specialized in the form of Bharatanatyam, well known for displaying her talents. A dancer, music composer, choreographer, teacher, writer, and researcher, Padma has indeed managed to do justice in each of these professions. Over the years she has given several performances in India and abroad that have got audiences enwrapped in her musical recitals. She displays immense perfection with regard to her body movements and hand gesticulation for many of her original musical scores that makes her an enthralling sight to watch on stage. Backed by years of experience, she has imparted her knowledge to many dancers through various forms. She has held several workshops, addressed many public speeches, published more than a few journals as well as undertaken extensive research. This multi-faceted personality has been the main subject for many short films and documentaries made in countries such as Japan, Australia and Russia. To know more interesting details about her, read the biography given below.
Padma Subramaniam was born on 4th February 1943 and is the daughter of two well known artists, K. Subramaniam and Meenakshi. Her father was a well known moviemaker and her mother was a music composer and lyricist. Coming from an artistic background, it was no surprise that Padma showed an interest in classical dancing. Her parents supported and encouraged her all through to follow her passion. During her initial days as a dancer, Padma Subramaniam trained at Nrutyodaya, a dance school that was established by her father in 1942. Despite her love for dance she never gave up her education and earned a bachelor’s in music, masters in Ethno-Musicology and a Ph. D in dance.
Her first dance lessons were from the dance academy Nrutyodya which was founded by her father. In Nrutyodya, Padma Subramaniam trained under the guidance of her teacher Kausalya but she later went on to be taught by the late Guru Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai, a famous well known artiste in Southern parts of India. Her first public stage performance was given in the year 1956 which gave her much needed appreciation and encouragement from her audience, which also led to other numerous concerts. During her career as a dancer, Padma Subramanaim spent lot of time researching on Indian dance forms and the various poses seen in the temples. In her thesis, she stressed that the 108 ‘Karanas’ were not mere poses of Lord Nataraja but different dance movements performed with goddess Parvati. She has also designed some of these movements that are on display at the Nataraja Temple at Satara in Maharashtra. With the help of her research she has managed to compose several ballets that give her a unique and independent style which she popularly refers to as ‘bharatanrityam’. Ramaya Tubhya, Namah, Krishnaya Tubhyam Namah, Jaya Jaya Shankara and Kuravanjis are some of her very own dance pieces that have been widely appreciated by her audiences. The famous dance repertoire ‘Pushpanjali’ was actually first introduced by her. Padma is indeed a versatile personality who has contributed towards dance, music, and writing. The ‘Legacy of a Legend’ is said to be her very popular journal and her Bengali music composition ‘Varanam’ is also well accepted by her admirers. Currently, she is the director of her father’s dance school Nrutyodya that is located in Chennai.
Contributions to Dance
Padma has been the first to create and enact the most popular dance recital known as ‘Pushpanjali’. She is also responsible for adopting the Sukha Lasya technique, where an entire piece of ballet is expressed through the means of music, giving it a rhythmic and melodic form. With years of her expertise in classical dancing, Padma continues to actively research and compile new and different musical and dance repertoire.
Awards & Accolades
Over the years she has been a recipient of several esteemed awards some of them are listed below.
- Padma shri in the year 1981
- Padma Bhushan in 1983 and in 2003
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1983
- Kalaimamani Award from the Tamil Nadu government
- Kalidas Samman title from the Madhya Pradesh
- Nada Brahmam award from Narada Gana Sabha organisation
- Bharata Sastra Rakshamani
- Nehru Award from the Soviet Union in 1983
- Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize from a Japanese organisation
- 1943: Born in Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu
- 1956: Gave her first stage performance.
- 1981: Received the Padma Shri.
- 1983: The Padma Bhushan was presented to her, along with the Nehru Award from the Soviet Union.