2017 – Life Time Achievement Awardee – Guru Sudha Chandra Shekar

Sudha Chandrashekar

Sudha Chandrasekhar is the senior-most student of the late great master Gurus Kuppiah Pillai, AT Govindraj Pillai, and T K Mahalingam Pillai, as well as Sri Rajarajeshwari Bharata Natya Kalamandir's current torcherbearer - Guru K Kalyanasundaram Pillai.

From 1945 - 48, she trained in Manipuri and Kathak at Rupatayan Institute, Bombay. From 1948 to 1967, she studied Kathak under Gurus Srivastava and Gopikrishna and Kuchipidi under Guru Korada Narasimha Rao of Elluru, Bharatacharya Sri Rama Acharyulu and Darpana Institute of Mrinalini Sarabhai, Ahmedabad. Alongside, she did intensive study in classical Carnatic music under the guidance of Bhaskara Bhagavathar and Vidwan Trichi Swaminatha Bhagavathar (both of Bombay) and North Indian Hindustani classical music under Professor Ginde of Bombay. In 1980-81, she did a short-term intensive course in Odissi under Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and a short four-month course in Kathakali under Guru Krishna Pannikar.

Sudha was hugely famous in the 1960s for her revival of the ancient Kavuthvams, her devotional abhinaya in the translations of Vedic Hymns (Nritya Gitanjali), Bhavayami Raghurama, and Guru Mahalingam Pillai's composition of the Dashavataram, as well as her technical perfection in the Thana Varnam and Naga Nritya.

From 1967, Sudha is the artistic director of Hindu Temple Rhythms, a cultural and performing arts organization, director and choreographer of Vidyanjali Dance Troupe of Michigan ensemble, as well as Cultural Ambassador and Ethnic Presenter for the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit. In May 1996, Sudha and her daughter Vidya broke their own world record in "72 Hours for the Heart", a 72-hour dance marathon in aid of the American Heart Association and Bharatiya Temple of Troy, Michigan.