Indian Classical Dance School


About Kamala

Kamala Lakshmi Narayanan has been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship 2010 in the Traditional and Folk Arts category.
Here is a link with the official announcement from the NEA

Born on June 16, 1934, with a career span of more than five decades on the stage and three on the silver screen, Kamala, the prime disciple of Natyacharya Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai, is acknowledged as the foremost exponent of the 'Vazhuvoor Bani', a style characterised by grace, finesse and aesthetic appeal.

She literally took Bharathanatyam to the silver screen, and still brings a misty eyed look to the eye of the rasika. 'Kottu Murase' you can hear them think, 'Naadhar mudi mel irukkum nagapaambe.' And she is still the sprightly, beautiful 'Kumari' Kamala to them.

Kamala belongs to the Vazhuvoorar style and was a disciple of Kattumannar Kovil Muthukumarappa Pillai in Bharathanatyam. She started learning Kathak when she was 5 years old at Bombay. Later she shone as a Bharathanatyam artiste, whose dance sequences in Tamil films like 'Naam Iruvar', were a vehicle for patriotic messages during the freedom struggle.

The foremost exponent of the Vazhuvoor tradition of Bharata Natyam,  Padmabushan Kamala is the ideal combination of Dancer and Guru.  Her career in dancing has been a long and illustrious one.  A recipient of the prestigious Padmabushan award from the President of India, she has performed extensively in India and abroad, serving as cultural ambassador of international acclaim.  She performed at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and enthralled many dignitaries including Jawaharlal Nehru, S. Radhakrishnan, President Eisenhower, Prime Minister Chau Enlai and Marshal Tito, and the King of Jordan.  She has been honored with several titles and has established a dance school, "Sri Bharata Kamalalaya." 

An exemplary teacher, she conducts classes in New York and New Jersey, where she has introduced many fine young artistes to Bharata Natyam and given them a special appreciation of Indian culture.

She is also an Adjunct Professor of Indian Classical Dance at the Center for India Studies, Stony Brook University. She teaches an undergraduate course in Bharatanatyam (Theatre 353) every Fall. The Center's phone number is (631) 632-9742. She was honored by President Shirley Strum Kenny of Stony Brook in Dec 2001.

Look at Kamala's online photo album filled with pictures from her life.