K. N. Dandayudhapani Pillai

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K. N. Thandauthapani pillai
Born(1921-07-14)14 July 1921
Died12 October 1974(1974-10-12) (aged 53)
OccupationClassical dancer
Known for Bharatanatyam
Spouse(s)Chandra Dhandayudhapani Pillai
ChildrenDr. Uma Anand
Awards Padma Shri Natyakalachakravarthy Kalaimamani Natyakalanidhi

Karaikal Natesa Dhandayudhapani Pillai (born 14 July 1921, Karaikal) was an Indian classical dancer and choreographer, considered by many as one of the leading exponents of the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. He was also a teacher and trained multiple performers.



Born on 14 July 1921 in Karaikal, in the Indian union territory of Puducherry to A. K. Natesa Pillai, a known musician, he started training initially in music under his father, but later turned to Bharatanatyam and learned under his grandfather, who was a teacher of the dance form. [1] Subsequently, he joined Kalakshetra of Rukmini Devi Arundale as a teacher where he taught for a number of years. He was known to have authored several compositions for Bharatanatyam [2] [3] and trained many students; Sri Vidya, J. Jayalalithaa, Hema Rajagopalan, Suganthi Sadayane, Nayana Shenoy, [4] Adyar K. Lakshman, [5] Uma Muralikrishna, [6] Vijayalakshmi Shetty-Ahuja, [7] Jayalakshmi Alva [8] and Geeta Chandran [9] are some of the notable ones among them. He was the dance choreographer of a number of films in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi such as Raja Guruvu, [10] Man-Mauji, Chhaya, Hum Panchhi Ek Daal Ke, Sri Kalahastiswara Mahatyam and Bhai-Bhai. [11] He also founded Sri Rama Nataka Niketan, a dance academy in Chennai in 1967. [12] The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 1971, for his contributions to Dance. [13]

Personal life

His wife, Chandra Dandayudhapani Pillai, is a known Bharatanatyam expert and teacher [14] and his younger brother, Dakshinamoorthy Pillai who died in 2005, was also a noted Bharatanatyam teacher. [15]


He went to an eye operation in America. Following his return on 4 October, he attended his student's graduation ceremony. Later he had chest pain and was admitted to the hospital. On 12 October he died.

See also

Sri Thandauthapanipillai was a famous bharathanatyam dancer as wells as a professional vocalist. He was born into a musical family

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  2. "Compositions of K.N.Dandayudapani Pillai". Indian Heritage. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
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  12. "Sri Rama Nataka Niketan". Sri Rama Nataka Niketan. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  13. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  14. "Birth anniversary celebrated". Carnatica.net. 17 December 2001. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  15. His grandson, Karthik Balaji is currently pursuing Engineering from Bharati Vidyapeeths college of Engineering. "Delhi based dance guru Dakshinamoorthy Pillai passes away". Kutcherri Buzz. 27 April 2005. Retrieved 21 August 2016.