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Ananda Shankar was born on 27 September 1961 in a Tamil Brahmin family in Tirunelveli District. She was a Famous Classical dancer. She was born to G.S. Shankar (Indian Railways Officer) and Subhashini (School Teacher and Musician) and was brought up in Hyderabad. She studied at St. Ann’s High School, Secunderabad. At the age of 4, she started learning classical dance under Sharada Keshava Rao. Her teachers are Padma Balagopal, Sharada Hoffman, and Krishnaveni Laxman at Kalakshetra of Rukmini Devi Arundale. By the age of 11, she had got both diploma as well as post graduate degrees in Bharatanatyam and various fields like Carnatic music, Veena, dance theory, and Philosophy.
She learned Kuchipudi under Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry in Hyderabad. Also, she completed Master’s degree in Indian History and Culture from Osmania University. Ananda Shankar then joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), and became the first woman officer in the service. She completed Ph.D. in Tourism and is married to Jayant. In Hyderabad, she founded a dance school named as Shankarananda Kalashetra. As time went by, it transformed into a dance academy. It was even associated with some artists like Dolan Banerjee and Sathiraju Venumadhav. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer.
She was even invited to share her experiences about cancer on TED talk in 2009. Her speech along with some dance moves in between became very inspirational at TED talks on cancer. She continued her dancing even after cancer, but it lasted only for two years. In 1999, She performed a dance called What About me? And composed many dramas like Panchatantra – Dancing tales. She has performed on many stages and many dance-dramas have been choreographed by her. Some of them include - An Easel, Navarasa, Expressions of Truth – Gandhian Ideals, Etc., She even delivered a speech became a speaker of Inspire series at the Indian Conference which took place in Harvard Business School in February 2016.
She revised the 16th edition of The Dance Annual Magazine of India and even released a desktop app for practicing dance. In 2002, she was honored with the Kalaimamani Award by the Government of Tamil Nadu. In 2004, she received Natya Illavarasi title from Sree Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, New Delhi. She has also been honored as Nritya Choodamani by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. In 2007, the Indian Government awarded her a civilian honor of Padma Shri. The Same year she received Nritya Kalasagara from Kalasagaram, Secunderabad. In 2008, she was nominated for Kala Ratna Award. She has been awarded, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. She has also won Indian Express Devi Award, Vidya Tapasvi Award, and Guru Debaprasad Award.
Yamini Krishnamurthy is a dancer born in Andhra Pradesh. She is a well-known and received international fame. She took India's spirit to a higher level in the international horizon. She is an eminent Indian dancer specializing in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi styles of dancing. She knows Odissi styles of dancing too.
Once, as a young girl, she performed a Bharatnatyam performance, and people were enchanted by its grace and elegance. Later on, she mastered a Kuchipudi form of dancing as well. and she wanted to learn other kinds of dance (Odissi) too from the best gurus. She found illustrious teachers to further her art. She had a tremendous personality and remained unmarried. But none can explain the divinity that one comes across in her dance performance.
She was also known as "torch bearer" of Kuchipudi form of dance. This dancer was born in Andhra Pradesh on 20th December 1940 in Madanapalli, Chittoor District, her mother tongue is Telugu, but she made her debut in dancing in Madras. In her initial days of dancing, she had the privilege and honor of being a resident dancer in Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.
To bring the spirit of dance art among future citizens, she also has set up a dancing school at New Delhi which is very popular and known as Yamini School of Dance, located in Hauz Khas, New Delhi. It was in the year of 1957 when she was just seventeen years old, Yamini Krishnamurthy performed her debut dance in an event in Chennai. Ever since she had a successful career. Within three years of her performance, Yamini became one of the most admired dancers of the country.
For her role in classical dance, she is the recipient of Padma Shree felicitation in the year 1968 and the Padma Bhushan - the second highest civilian awards of India, in 2001. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1977. She is also the recipient of the Padma Bhushan (2001) and The Padma Vibhushan (2016). She also received a title of Asthana Narthaki (“Resident Dancer”) that was bestowed upon her by the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams.
She got started training at the age of just five years. It was then she got enrolled as a student of Bharatnatyam in Kalakshetra School of Dance, Chennai. Her Guru was Rukmini Devi Arundale who had imparted her the initial training. After getting to know the basics of Bharatnatyam, she went on to complete her higher studies under world-renowned masters such as Kanchipuram Ellappa Pillai, Thanjavur Kittapa Pillai, Dhandayudhapani Pillai and Mylapore Gouri Amma.
In addition to her dancing skills in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, she had learned Odissi from Pankaj Charan Das and Kelucharan Mohapatra. It is not just dancing; she is also an exponent veena player as she learned it from Kalpakam Swaminathan. Later on, she became a vocal trained artist too and learned about music from M.D. Ramanathan.
Dance needs holistic training, she continued to perform Bharatanatya and choreographed items in both forms of dancing Kuchipudi and Odissi. She also has performed much ballet shows like-titled 'The Gandhian Order of Life' and another on Tagore and Subramania Bharati and their depiction of the Goddess Kali. In one word, she is wedded to dance and dance is her life. Even Doordarshan featured some of her ballets live. She travels the world performing and bringing hope to many that Indian culture will unite the international art at all level.
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