Born On: December 20, 1940
Born In: Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh
Career: Indian Classical Dancer
Yamini Krishnamurthy is one the earliest classical dancers in India. She is a trained dancer in two different forms Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. Yamini has been praised by her critics and applauded by many dance enthusiasts around the globe. Her achievements are legendary and that has been the reason for her esteemed status in the artistic circle. Yamini's decades of sincere dedication and hard work has paid off. Today, her sheer presence on stage exudes a powerful and enthralling aura around her. Yamini continues to fascinate her audience with each new composition that has won admirers from India and abroad. She mastered the art of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi and continues to bring about diverse variations that are unique from the conventional style.
Yamini Krishnamurthy was born on 20th December, 1940 in a family of artistic intellectuals. Her father M. Krishnamurthy was a Sanskrit scholar and her grandfather was a well-known Urdu poet. With an aesthetic background it came by as no surprise when young Yamini took up classes to train as a classical dancer. She began schooling in Bharatanatyam at a very tender age of five in Kalakshetra School of Dance that is located in Chennai. Yamini learnt her basics from her guru Rukmini Devi Arundale before she went to master this art form under the guidance of Kanchipuram Ellappa Pillai, Thanjavur Kittapa Pillai, Dhandayudhapani Pillai and Mylapore Gouri Amma. Although she was born in Madanapalle, she spent most of her early life in Chidambaram-the city known to have an ancient history that encourages and takes great pride in its culture. Chidambaram was certainly a great place to begin building her classical career.
In 1957, Yamini gave her first live classical performance in Chennai (Madras) and since then, there has been no looking back for her. She continues to make path breaking performance that has never been attempted or tried before. In the following years to come, her popularity only crossed all leaps and boundaries, despite the new standards and goals. With her passion to excel in her field, she was backed and supported by her family. It has been said that Yamini's father played a vital role in helping create a unique position for her that set herself apart with other contemporaries. Her intricate 'tala' pattern was not only a new facet introduced by her but also revolutionized traditional Bharatanatyam style. Although it was under his guidance she brought a ground breaking change in her style, it cannot be ignored that her gurus were equally important in shaping her success. Rukmini Devi Arundale, Kanchipuram Ellappa Pillai, Thanjavur Kittapa Pillai, Dhandayudhapani Pillai and Mylapore Gouri Amma helped Yamini through her smooth journey to success. Yamini's work did not restrict towards reforming a conventional dance moves, but also she extended her work by popularizing other forms such as Kuchipudi.
Yamini has not only been an accomplished dancer, but also excelled in classical singing and took keen interest in knowing the Hindu scriptures. Lakshmi Narayan Sastri, Chinta Krishnamurti and Pasumarthy Venugopal Krishna Sarma are some of her gurus who taught her Kuchipudi. Pankaj Charan Das and Kelucharan Mohapatra guided her in learning Odissi. Her guru M. D. Ramanathan coached her in Carnatic music. Additionally, she also mastered the instrument Veena from her educator Smt. Kalpakkam Swaminathan. Without these eminent personalities, Yamini would not have been able to transform her dreams into a reality. She dazzled her aficionado with her diverse talents from music to dance recitals. Her portrayal of Satyabhama gave due recognition to the art form Kuchipudi. With years of experience in classical dance Yamini is currently passing on her knowledge to her students. Yamini School of Dance in Delhi and Asthana Nartaki of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam were both founded by her. She has spent her entire life dedicated towards fulfilling her enthusiasm for dance and never married.
She was one the earliest members to bring about a dramatic change in the field of dance. Yamini revolutionized Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi that was appreciated in India and abroad. She has worked on several foxtrot compositions such as 'The Gandhian Order of Life along with Tagore' and Subramania Bharati version of 'Goddess Kali'. She came out with her autobiography, 'A Passion for Dance', which was well received by audience. Yamini is currently 70 years old presently; however age does not seem to wither her passion to create a new piece of work.
Awards & Honors
Padma Shree (1968)
Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1977)
Earned the prestigious title Asthana Narthaki from the Trupathi temple
Padma Bhushan Award (2001)
1940: Born on 20th December in Madanapalle.
1957: She debuted as a classical dancer in Chennai.
1968: Yamini Krishnamurthy was felicitated with a Padmashree.
1977: was informed Sangeet Natak Academy Award.
2001: Soon she was honored with Padma Bhushan, one of the prestigious awards for a civilian.