Chennai: Founder and director of Sri Mudhraalaya Academy of Bharatanatyam, Lakshmi Ramaswamy, has been awarded the Kalaimamani for her contributions to and achievements in the art form.
A classical dancer, teacher, choreographer and researcher, she has been awarded for the year 2011.
Coming from a non-dancing background, Lakshmi is a popular student of Chitra Visweswaran. She also went on to become the first Doctorate from Madras University in Bharatanatyam.
Speaking to News Today on receiving the State honour, she said, “I thank the government of Tamilnadu which has acknowledged the art and special thanks to Iyal Isai Nataka Manram chairman Deva sir and the member-secretary. In spite of all the difficulties we go through when some acknowledgment comes, you are assured that you are going in the right direction. We are peacemakers, and give people good thoughts when they go back after a performance. This award is a big pat on my shoulder. This year marks 25 years of my institution Sri Mudhraalaya, and I am married for 30 years and I am turning 50. It is a different landmark altogether.”
Speaking on her current research work, she says, “I will be presenting a paper in a few days at Kalai Kaveri Institute about traditional Kavuthvam in dance repertoire and will curate the seminar Natyamritha Manthan. It is to be held at the seminar hall of Anna Centenary Library on 22, 23 and 24 March.”
Speaking about her institution, she says, “My dance school is in Kotturpuram. All the students are first-generation dancers and I am a first-generation dancer myself. I am so happy that I have been able to take art to those families who have not seen it earlier and give them that happiness of learning this art. There is nobody in my family who has learnt dance. It was the wish of my mother who wanted her daughter to be a dancer, as she never got the opportunity to be one.”
She says, “I feel immense thankfulness and gratitude to my parents. In spite of being in an economical condition that did not allow such things, they allowed me to follow my passion. Also my teachers who have generously taught me through these years. I miss my father (who passed away recently). He wanted to see me in this acknowledgement,” she says with feeling.