Born(1928-12-06)6 December 1928
Died30 December 2006(2006-12-30) (aged 78)

Chandralekha Prabhudas Patel (6 December 1928 – 30 December 2006), commonly known as 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][2] 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.[3][4] Her essay 'Militant Origins of Indian Dance', originally published in Social Scientist in 1979,[5] was later reprinted in the volume Improvised Futures: Encountering the Body in Performance, part of the India Since the 90s series published by Tulika Books.

Awards and recognition


  1. ^ a b "Chandralekha: Controversial Indian dancer whose ideas challenged convention". The Guardian. London. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  2. ^ Kothari, Sunil; Kapoor, Coomi (13 March 2014) [May 15, 1985]. "Danseuse-feminist Chandralekha: The doyenne of thinkers in Indian dance". India Today. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  3. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (7 January 2007). "Chandralekha, 79, Dancer Who Blended Indian Forms, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  4. ^ Barnes, Clive (21 November 1998). "Handsome 'Raga'-Bag of Theses". New York Post. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  5. ^ Chandralekha. "Militant Origins of Indian Dance". Social Scientist. 9 (98–99): 80–86 – via Digital South Asia Library.
  6. ^ "'Kalidas Samman' for Chandralekha". The Hindu. 19 October 2003. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ "Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Sadasya (Fellowship)". Sangeet Natak Akademi. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2009.


Rustom Barucha. Chandralekha: Woman, Dance, Resistance. Indus. New Delhi: 1995. ISBN 81-7223-168-7