Chandralekha (dancer)

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Born (1928-12-06)6 December 1928
Died 30 December 2006(2006-12-30) (aged 78)

Chandralekha Prabhudas Patel (6 December 1928 – 30 December 2006), commonly known as just Chandralekha, was a dancer and choreographer from India. The niece of Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first deputy Prime Minister, she was an exponent of performances fusing Bharatanatyam with Yoga and martial arts like Kalarippayattu.

She was conferred the highest award of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 2004.

Early life and education

She was born to an agnostic doctor father and a devout Hindu mother in Vada, Maharashtra. She spent her childhood in her native Gujarat and in Maharashtra.[1]


After completing high school, Chandralekha studied law, but quit her studies midway to learn dance instead. She started with Dasi Attam, a form of dance practiced by temple dancers in southern India, under the tutelage of Ellappa Pillai. She was also influenced by Balasaraswati and Rukmini Devi Arundale in her dance education, but her choreography shows that she was more influenced by the former.[1] Although Chandralekha received her early training in Bharatanatyam, she went on to change her focus to postmodern fusion dances that incorporated elements from other dances, martial arts like Kalarippayattu, and performing arts.[2][3]

Awards and recognition

Chandralekha is known for her infamous contribution to the dance form called Sharira.


  1. ^ a b "Chandralekha: Controversial Indian dancer whose ideas challenged convention". London: The Guardian. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  2. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (7 January 2007). "Chandralekha, 79, Dancer Who Blended Indian Forms, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  3. ^ Barnes, Clive (21 November 1998). "HANDSOME 'RAGA'-BAG OF THESES". New York Post. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  4. ^ "'Kalidas Samman' for Chandralekha". The Hindu. 19 October 2003.
  5. ^ "Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Sadasya (Fellowship)". Sangeet Natak Akademi.

External links

  • Archive film of Chandralekha performing Yanta in 1994 at Jacob's Pillow

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