Special respects and homage is paid to Mrs. Padmini Ramachandran the person who inspired to set up such an academic program in arts. Star of more than 250 Indian movies she popularized Bharathanatyam and set the standard for the pseudo-classical style of dance that is now widely used in the Indian cinema. In 1977 she started a dance academy, the Padmini Institute of Fine Arts and soon the school had five branches in New Jersey and New York. Along with her elder sister, Lalitha, and younger sister, Ragini, who were also talented actresses and dancers, the three were known as the Travancore Sisters. She learned Bharathanatyam under tutelage of Veteran Sri Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai of Tanjore. She was the recipient of Padma Sri” from the government of India and “Shantala” awards. She was known around South India as “Ulaga Natya Peroli”. (See her video message recorded two weeks prior to her passing
Madurai R. Muralidharan is an accomplished Bharathanatyam dancer, singer, choreographer, nattuvanar, composer and Guru who was a student of Guru Kalaimamani Chamundeeswari (a senior disciple of Padmashree K.N.Dandayudapani Pillai). He was initiated in the art of Bharathanatyam at the age of 7. He assumed the Directorship of a Dance Institution, namely Nrithyakshethra, in 1978 from his Guru and has trained more than 1000 students from all over the world in this art, with over 150 Arangetrams” so far.He manages the academy with his wife Smt. Chitra Muralidharan who is also a well- known dancer and teacher.
He has choreographed and performed several dance ballets along with his wife and students all over the world. He has given several dance programs both in India and abroad including the US
Kalaimamani Dr.M.S.Sarala is an accomplished dancer who is a disciple of Smt.K.J.Sarasa and Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subramaniam. She received her Doctorate Degree in dancing from Annamalai University, Tamilnadu, India. She started dancing at the age of 14 and has given numerous performances in India and abroad.
She created and choreographed the dance and music for the dance drama “Ekalaivan” which has been an outstanding success with a strong message to the audience to broaden their outlook towards society. She has participated in many conferences and given lectures both in India and abroad.
She is a Visiting Professor of Fine Arts at the Alagappa University Karaikudi and a member of the Management Board of CECRI Kendra Vidhayalaya, Karaikudi, Tamilnadu, India. Complementing these activities she manages a dance institution named “Kalaikoil” at Karaikudi.
Ms.Vishal Ramani is the Founder- Director of the Shri Krupa Dance Foundation in San Jose, one of the leading schools of Bharathanatyam in the Bay Area. She has been teaching the Bharathanatyam art form since 1977. Vishal received rigorous training in the Thanjavur style of Bharathanatyam from Guru Mahalingam Pillai and Guru Govinda Raj Pillai of Shri Raja Rajeshwari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir of Bombay. Her dance debut (Arangetram) was at the age of 6 at the Poddar College in Bombay. Having finished her Arangetram”
Smt K.R Rekha is an ardent disciple of Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam for more than three decades, a versatile BharataNatyam dancer with many notable performances in her repertoire. She is a Master’s Degree holder in BharataNatyam from Madras University and also she is a Graduate in Law. She started her BharataNatyam training at the age of 5 with her Guru Smt. Saroja in Vazhuvoor and later she joined in Nrithyodaya dance class, Chennai for advanced training.
She has completed 4 years Course of Nrithya Pravesika, 5 years of Nrithya Visaradha and 2 years of post diploma in Nrithya Sali. She also got special training in 108 Karanas and Nattuvangam and received the title “Bharata Nritya Priya”. And also she has registered in University of Madras to do her Ph.D
Smt. Sujatha Mohan, M.A. M.Phil (Sanskrit Litt.) (M.F.A. Bharathanatyam) is one of the senior-most disciples of the world renowned danseuse Padmabhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam. Smt. Sujatha has completed formal training in her Guru’s Institution “Nrithyodaya” and has been in this field for more than three decades. She has given innumerable performances in India and abroad accompanying her Guru. She started her dance Institution “Padmashree Nrithyalaya” in the year 1997. Sujatha has conducted work-shops (theory and practical classes) in Karanas and Natyasastra in Singapore, the U.S.A. and Switzerland. She is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Natyasastra. Some of her awards are “Bharatha Nritya Priya” and “Padma Bharathi”.
Smt. Lakshmi Ramaswamy has carved a niche for herself in the genre of Bharathanatyam as a performer, teacher, choreographer and researcher and is the Artistic director of ‘Sri Mudhraalaya’, where she gives holistic training to young aspirants of this rich art form. She is a holder of twin Master’s Degrees in Commerce and Bharathanatyam and has now enrolled for her Ph.D. in the Department of Indian Music, Madras University, where she also works as a Guest Faculty. Lakshmi has trained in Natyam from stalwarts like Chitra Visweswaran, Padma Subrahmanyam, Kalanidhi Narayan and Tamil literature from Dr. S. Raghuraman. She was the only dancer selected from India for ‘Fulbright’ fellowship to do Arts and Culture Management Studies in the year 2000 and spent six months at Golden Gate University, San Francisco, USA. She has translated the book, ‘History of Tamil’s Dance’ and co-authored ‘Natana Kalaichol Kalanjiam’ apart from contributing articles to dance and music journals.