Yamini Purna Tilaka Krishnamurthy alias Yamini Krishnamurthy, accomplished Bharatanatyam andKuchipudi dancer who has dedicated her life to Indian classical dance for decades, was born in 1940, in Madanapalli, Andhra Pradesh. She hails from an eminent family which was more literarily than artistically inclined. Yamini’s father, M. Krishnamurthy, was a Sanskrit scholar and grandfather was an expert in Urdu poetry.
Yamini gave her debut in 1957 in Chennai, where her charisma and stage presence were recognized, when she was only seventeen. By 1960, she became one of the most admired dancers in the country. Her performances brought about national and international recognition to the classical styles of Bharat Natyam and Kuchipudi. Yamini played a significant role in popularizing Kuchipudi which was then emerging as a solo dance form of Andhra Pradesh in southern India.
Yamini is working on a ballet, titled ‘The Gandhian Order of Life’ and another on Tagore and Subramania Bharati and their depiction of the Goddess Kali. Totally dedicated, her life revolves around her dance school, her students and her compositions.
Yamini enrolled as a student of Bharat Natyam at the age of five in Kalakshetra School of Dance, Chennai and her initial training was under Rukmini Devi Arundale. After acquiring a structural base at Kalakshetra, she went on to higher studies under renowned masters such as Kanchipuram Ellappa Pillai, Thanjavur Kittapa Pillai, Dhandayudhapani Pillai and Mylapore Gouri Amma.
She trained in Kuchipudi under Vedantam Lakshmi Narayana Shastri, Chinta Krishnamurthi and Pasumarthy Venugopal Krishna Sharma. In addition to Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, she learnt Odissi from Pankaj Charan Das and Kelucharan Mohapatra. She was trained in Carnatic vocal music by M.D. Ramanathan and learnt the Veena from Kalpakam Swaminathan.
Awards & Titles
Her dancing career brought her many awards, including the Padma Shree (1968) and the Padma Bhushan (2001), which are among the highest civilian awards of the Republic of India. She received Sangeet Natak Academy Award’ in 1977. The title of ‘Asthana Narthaki’ was bestowed upon her by the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam, one of the most sacrosanct temples of India.