Chitra Vishweswaran

Chitra Vishweswaran is one of most distinguished and leading Bharatnatyam dancers of India. Chitra’s mother Smt. Rukmini Padmanabhan recognized her talent when she was just three years old. Her father was a Railway Adviser at the Indian High Commission in London. She started taking Classical Ballet lessons in London. She also took training in Manipuri and Kathak, later in Kolkata.

Chitra learnt Bharatnatyam from the maestro Smt. T. A. Rajalakshmi for 10 years. She surprised everyone when she choreographed her first dance just when she was eleven. After that she never looked back.

In 1970, the Ministry of Human Resources Development awarded her the National Scholarship for higher study in Bharatnatyam. After this achievement she started undergoing training under Vazhuvoor Ramaiyya Pillai. She completed her training and began to work independently. Chitra married Vishweswaran, a famous singer, musician and santoor player. Together they contributed a lot to the field of music and dance. Chitra has been invited to many dance festivals and has been acknowledged by various institutions and universities for her great contribution to this field. Experimentations and innovations have been the major characteristics of Chitra’s dance. She has achieved a lot of popularity by directing and choreographing many dance dramas. ‘Devi Ashta Rasa Malika’, ‘Panchali’ based on Subramania Bharathi’s Panchali Sabadam, ‘Raghuvamsa Thilakam’, ‘Ayothi Mannan’,’Dwarakanatham Bhaje’, Dasavatharam’, ‘Nritya Srinkhala’ are some of her extraordinary works.

Even after becoming a member of the General Council and Executive Board of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, Chitra continued her dance career. She bagged the ‘Nritya Choodamani’ from Gana Sabha .The ‘Kalaimamani’ title was awarded to her by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The Padma Shri award was given to her in 1992. ‘Mahila Shiromani’ and ‘Sthree Ratnam’ were added to her list of awards. Later, she established the ‘Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) for imparting professional training sessions and music therapy treatment for disabled children.