Padma Subramanyam has become a distinguished personality for being the spectacular proponent of the Indian art and culture beyond its political boundaries. Born on 4th February 1943 in Chennai, this fabled Bharatnatyam dancer is also choreographer, musician, music composer & a research scholar. The multifarious personality Padma is the director of a dance school, Nrithyodaya established by her father in 1942, in Chennai. Padma Subramanyam was the daughter of a celebrated film director K. Subrahmanyam and Meenakshi, a well-known Tamil and Sanskrit lyricist and music composer.
Padma Subramanyam graduated in Music, did her Master’s degree in Ethno Musicology and earned Ph.D. in Dance from Annamalai University. She received her initial dance training in Nrithyodaya and later she was brought under the guidance of Vashuvur Ramaiah Pillai and Mylapore Gouri Amma to learn Bharatnatyam. Salil Chaudhry and B.V.Lakshmanan were her musical gurus in the later years. She received active help from her guru Dandayuthapani Pillai during her research years. Her thesis was based on Karanas in Indian dance and sculpture’ that foregrounded the concept that there are 108 Karanas movements in Bharatnatyan dance.
Padma Subramanyam immensely contributed to the development of Bharatnatyam. She designed the carvings of 108 Karanas of Parvati and Shiva in black granite in Nataraj Temple, Maharashtra. Padma Subramanyam performed in albums like Vande Mataram, Viralimalai Kuravanji, Meenakshi Kalyanam and Silappadikaram.. She was accredited for her research work in Natya Sastra and National Unity, Bharata’s Art – then and now, Legacy of a Legend and many more.
Some of the awards and honours received by Padma Subramanyam are
- Padma Bhushan, Kalaimamani Award, Padmashri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award(1983) from the Tamil Nadu Government.
- Vaander Shree (1981)
- Vaander Bhushan (1983)
- Kalidas Samman from Madhya Pradesh Government
- Nada Brahmam from Chennai’s Narada Gana Sabha
- Nehru Award (1983) from the Indian Government
- Fukoka Asian Cultural Prize from Japan
- and Bharata Sastra Rakshamani Award