K. N. Dhandayuthapani pillai
Born(1921-07-14)14 July 1921
Died12 October 1974(1974-10-12) (aged 53)
Occupation(s)Classical dancer
Known forBharatanatyam
SpouseChandra Dhandayudhapani Pillai
ChildrenDr. Uma Anand
AwardsPadma Shri Natyakala Chakravarthy Kalaimamani Natyakalanidhi

Karaikal Natesa Dhandayudhapani Pillai (born 14 July 1921, Karaikal - 1974) 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 Dhandayudhapani Pillai, is a known Bharatanatyam expert and teacher[14] Her younger Sister Suria Santhanam also a noted Bharatanatyam teacher for 35 Years.[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. His grandfather was called Ramakrishnan, who was a great Bharathanaatyam artist.


  1. ^ Hema Rajagopalan (26 March 2016). "K. N. Dandayudhapani Pillai Baani". Remembrance. Narthaki. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Compositions of K.N.Dandayudapani Pillai". Indian Heritage. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Dance rich in rhythm". The Hindu. 3 September 2004. Retrieved 21 August 2016.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Nayana Shenoy". Shivam School of Dance. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Adyar K. Lakshman speaks to S. Janaki" (PDF). Sruti. May 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  6. ^ Sunil Kothari; Avinash Pasricha (January 2001). Kuchipudi. Abhinav Publications. pp. 221–. ISBN 978-81-7017-359-5.
  7. ^ "About Guru". Natraj Dance. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Noted Bharatanatyam dancer Jayalakshmi Alva passes away". The Hindu. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Short Bio" (PDF). Geeta Chandran. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Raja Guruvu". The Southern Nightingale. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Dandayudapani Pillai on IMDb". Internet Movie Database. 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  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 October 2015. 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.