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Bharatanatyam – Top Institutes, Careers & Famous Dancers

India has a very rich dancing history as far as classical dance forms are concerned. Bharatanatyam rapidly expanded after the independence from the British rule in the year 1947.

Though British tried to attempt to banish Bharatanatyam traditions, unexpectedly it went on to move outside the premises of the temples and religious ideas.

It went on to become just what ballet was in the West in the late 20th century.

Going forward

With so many artists not only in India but from around the world have come together to keep the legacy of Bharatanatyam going forward for next generations as they know how culturally rooted this dance form is with a very interesting history.

It also shows how eminent personalities helped Bharatanatyam to take a position again and later on a global scale.

21st century has been by far an interesting time for Bharatanatyam with so many young talents around world spreading the love for Bharatanatyam and creating awareness about it along with encouraging others to join their teams.

They believe if it is a passion, then it should not remain as a hobby. They truly want people with real passion for this classical dance form to pursue it as a career and become part of their family.

Bharatanatyam as a career

Mastering the art of Bharatanatyam is not very easy, it takes years and years of practice, dedication and the willpower to become a perfectionist.

Though, once you understand and master the art of Bharatanatyam, you can actually proceed to become a full-time dancer. You can start performing at different events focussing on dance and drama.

If you want to become more professional with commercial attributes, you can become a choreographer. You can form a team and start performing by touring in different countries for the audience who have passion for such art form.

There are many dancers who after learning and gaining years of experience decide to move ahead on the way by becoming a teacher, importing their knowledge to new learners and moulding them to perfection.

Best Dance Institutes for Bharatanatyam in India

1. Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai

Affiliated to the University of Mumbai, Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya is considered to be a premier institution in the country for the performing arts. It is also considered to be finest institutions for classical dance forms and allied subjects and also academically has highly qualified teachers and renowned gurus as the teaching staff with many years of experience.

Best Dance Institutes for Bharatanatyam in India
Students at Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya

2. Sri Thyagaraja College of Music and Dance, Hyderabad –

Renowned for the courses in Kuchipudi, Sri Thyagaraja College of Music and Dance located in the city of Hyderabad, offers courses in 13 different disciples of Indian classical dance and music.

Sri Thyagaraja College of Music and Dance, Hyderabad
Students executing a group performance

They believe in preserving and propagating Indian music and dance as they are a huge part of Indian culture. Established in the year 1952, the college has completed 67 successful years and are looking forward to continue the journey ahead in the same way.

3. Nrityanjali Institute of Performing Arts

Formed on 19th July, 1962 under the aegis of Dr. Tushar Guha, started off on a small way, with an objective of imparting discipline and promoting great cultural heritage among the youth, Nrityanjali Institute of Performing Arts located in Mumbai, specializes both in Indian Folk Dance forms and Indian Classical Dance Forms.

Nrityanjali Institute of Performing Arts

Eminent Personalities in the field of Bharatanatyam

1. Rukmini Devi

Born to an upper middle class family, Rukmini Devi was exposed to dancing at a very young age. She got an opportunity to share her knowledge of Indian cultural values in Europe along with her husband Dr. George Arundale.

She has been considered as a very strong support and a revolution in getting back Bharatanatyam after its ban during British colonial rule.

The charisma, the outrageous nature and the bold move of getting back Bharatanatyam after its ban, made her attain a niche in classical dancing.

She established Kalashetra, a school for training in Bharatanatyam. She was also Vice-President of the International Vegetarian Union for 31 years until she passed away in 1986.

2. Padma Subrahmanyam

Padma Subrahmanyam
Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam

“Nrutyodaya” is a school run by the legendary Padma Subrahmanyam. She is one of the most esteemed and respected classical dancers of India.

Giving her first performance in the age of 13, she studied and researched about Karana sculptures in detail and also received a PhD for her thesis on ‘Karanas in Indian Dance and Sculpture’.

She is considered to be a unique gem as she has combines a dancer, composer, choreographer, singer, scholar, teacher and author in one person.

So inspiring, isn’t it?

3. Alarmel Valli

Alarmel Valli
Alarmel Valli

At the age of 16, she was invited to perform at the prestigious International Dance Festival of the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre De La Ville, in romantic city of Paris.

She is known to master the art of converting a simple grammar into an ocean of poetry through her graceful dance moves.

She has performed at every cultural capital of the world. Through seminars and workshops, she has helped in creating awareness about Bharatanatyam across the globe.

‘Dipashikha’ was founded in 1984, to encourage new entrants as centre for performing arts, such is the maestro of dancing who is known to banish barriers in dancing – Alarmel Valli.

4. Yamini Krishnamurthy

Yamini Krishnamurthy

Yamini Krishnamurthy was ever keen to learn dance and shifted to Chennai at the age of 5 to pursue dancing. She joined Kalashestra, the dance school run by legendary Rukmini Devi.

Her first performance itself made her the star overnight and by 1960, she had toured in many parts of the world showcasing her skills and talent.

In 1990, she established ‘Yamini School of Dance’ at Delhi. She even went on to make a serial just on dancing, actually one of a kind at that time on Doordarshan.

She is the proud author of ‘A Passion for Dance’ and just like the name, she dedicated her whole life to dancing.

5. Mallika Sarabhai

Mallika Sarabhai

Not only an acclaimed dancer, but a film maker, anchor, editor, social activist and an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, Mallika Sarabhai is known to be a head strong woman with ample of energy which she spreads wherever she goes. 

She is a master in both Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi and is definitely a fine example of beauty with brains.

She along with the help of her mother Mrinalini runs the ‘Darpana Academy of Performing Arts’ where they give opportunity to budding talents.

She is also passionate about environment protection and has published books on it.

She is a firm believer of “Dance being a language form that is alive”.

Mallika Sarabhai – a powerful package

Inspired enough?

When are you putting your ghungroos on?

Read Also – Top 10 Indian Classical Dancers of all times

Written by Sharmila Feroz

Sharmila Feroz is a graduate of versatile vocations who grew up in a military household which led her to travel to interesting and beautiful parts of the country. Penning those travel experiences paved her way into writing about ethnic lifestyle and cultural celebrations in India.


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  1. Hello, sorry,are you a dancer? Or dance lover?By the way that’s is a correct photo of SMT.Rukmini Devi Arundale. And, there is none of Odissi photos !!

  2. I was looking for this information relating to the Indian traditional jewellery from head to toe. You have really eased my work, loved your writing skill as well. I like how you have researched and presented these exact points so clearly. Please keep sharing more!I never thought will get to visit this oh, has some nice content for everyone.

  3. Hello Sharmila feroz, read your article. There are so many wrong informations in your article. The photo of Rukminidevi Arundale is wrong ( a picture of oddissi dancer is there), secondly you have stated Bharatiya vidya bhavan in Bangalore is one of best insitutions to learn dance. Have you ever seen or gone there to see the standard of teaching???? Please be careful & responsible when you write articles & put information in future

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