Today, we mourn the loss of a true luminary, Saroja Vaidyanathan. Born on September 18, 1937, she was a shining embodiment of Indian culture, a revered guru, and an illustrious exponent of Bharatanatyam. Her life was an unwavering testament to her boundless passion for dance and her unyielding commitment to preserving and promoting this traditional art form.
Saroja Vaidyanathan transcended the boundaries of a mere dancer; she was a prolific choreographer, an erudite writer, and an inspiring teacher. Her journey commenced in Bellary, Karnataka, where she embarked on her Bharatanatyam odyssey at the esteemed Saraswati Gana Nilayam in Chennai. Under the guidance of her revered guru, Kattumannar Muthukumaran Pillai of Thanjavur, she honed her skills and became a beacon of grace and elegance in the world of dance.
Her path was not without its challenges, as she encountered conservative resistance to her public performances following her marriage. Undaunted, she chose to share the magic of dance with budding talents within the confines of her home. In 1972, with her husband’s transfer to Delhi, she founded the Ganesa Natyalaya, a revered institution that has since nurtured countless students and preserved the rich heritage of Bharatanatyam.
The Government of India recognised her extraordinary contributions to Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music, bestowing upon her the prestigious Padma Shri in 2002 and the illustrious Padma Bhushan in 2013. These accolades are a testament to her enduring impact on the world of classical dance.
Saroja Vaidyanathan leaves behind a profound and enduring legacy that will continue to inspire generations of dancers. Today, we celebrate her life and her unparalleled contributions to the realm of dance. Her indomitable spirit will forever reside in the art form she cherished so deeply. May she rest in eternal peace, knowing that her dance will continue to inspire and uplift us all.
Guru Dr. Saroja Vaidyanathan passed away at 4:05 a.m. on Thursday. Her body will be kept for a day at Ganesa Natyalaya, C-16 Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi.
– The Dance India Family