Alarmel Valli

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Alarmel Valli
Born (1956-09-14) 14 September 1956 (age 62)
ResidenceChennai, Tamil Nadu, India
OccupationIndian classical dancer, choreographer
Known forPandanallur style of Bharatnatyam
Spouse(s)Bhaskar Ghosh

Alarmel Valli (born 14 September 1956) is an Indian classical dancer and choreographer, and the foremost exponent of the Pandanallur style Indian classical dance form of Bharatnatyam and also her own distinctive style.[1][2]

She is the founder of Dipashikha, a centre for fine arts in Chennai, established in 1984, where she also teaches Bharatnatyam.[3]

In 1991, Alarmel Valli was the second youngest dancer to be conferred the President’s award of Padmasri after Vyjayanthimala. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2001 by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama,[4] followed by Padma Bhushan by Govt. of India in 2004.[5]

Early life[edit]

Alarmel Valli was born and brought up in Chennai, where she did her schooling from The Sacred Heart Matriculation School, at Church Park, Chennai and later studied at the Stella Maris College, Chennai. She trained in the Pandanallur style of Bharat Natyam under Pandanallur Chokkalingam Pillai and his son Subbaraya Pillai. She studied music under T. Muktha, of the Veena Dhanammal style of music for many years.[6]


She made her stage debut at an early age of 9 1/2 under the auspices of Indian Institute of Fine Arts, Madras and was conferred the Natya Kala Bhushan award and won her laurels on the International scene when she was barely 16 at the International Dance Festival of Theatre organised by the prestigious Sarah Bernhardt Théâtre de la Ville, in Paris, and has been performing ever since,[7][8] both in India and aboard.[9]

She also learned Odissi under Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and his disciple Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena, and studied classical Tamil literature anthologies of the 2000 years old, Sangam poetry. Over the years she has gradually evolved her own distinct style that extended her tradition within the broad framework of classical Bharatanatyam.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

A film on Alarmel Valli was made for the Omnibus series, on BBC One, by producer Michael Macintyre. Alarmel Valli has also been featured in dance documentaries by noted Indian producers like the late G. Aravindan and Prakash Jha, by the BBC (in The Spirit of Asia Series), the Netherlands Broadcasting Company, Arte (France) and Japanese National Television.

The Films Division of India commissioned a film on her for the National Archives of India. Titled ‘Pravahi’, it has been directed by eminent film-maker Arun Khopkar, with cinematography by Madhu Ambat. In 2011, Lasya Kavya, a documentary about Alarmel Valli, won the National Film Award for Best Arts/Cultural Film.

Personal life[edit]

Alarmel Valli is married to Bhaskar Ghose, an IAS officer.[10]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • 1969:The title of "Natyakalabhushanam" from the Indian Fine Arts Society.
  • 1973:The title of ‘Singar Mani’ from the Sur Singar Sammelan, Bombay.
  • 1975:Nrithyajothi from the Kalaniketan, Madras
  • 1976:Bharatakala Tatvaprakasini from Chidambaram Devasthanam
  • 1979: State award of Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu Government
  • 1980: Nrithya Vikas, from Sur Singar, Bombay
  • 1985: Nritya Choodamani, from the Krishna Gana Sabha (Madras).
  • 1990: Adal Arasi, from The Tamil Nadu Foundation, New Jersey, USA
  • 1991: Padma Sri[11]
  • 1996: Nritya Urvashi, from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh
  • 1997: Awarded the Grande Medaille (Medal) by the City of Paris.
  • 2002: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award[4]
  • 2003: Honoured by the Lalitha Kala Vedika Trust Chennai
  • 2003: Nritya Ratna from the Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan Kendra -Coimbatore
  • 2004: Padma Bhushan
  • 2004: Chevalier of Arts and Letters award from the French Government[2][12]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Sparkling show of style: There was never a dull moment in Alarmel Valli's performance". The Hindu. 7 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b "The best of music and dance". Express Buzz. 9 January 2010. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Transcending barriers: Alarmel Valli on the language of dance". Indian Express. 2 October 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  5. ^ "Padma Bhushan Awardees". Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  6. ^ a b Alarmel Valli Biography[permanent dead link],; accessed 13 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Art is where the heart is ..." The Hindu. 18 September 2009.
  8. ^ "Natural and poetic". The Hindu. 6 January 2010.
  9. ^ Jack Anderson (23 June 1991). "Review/Dance; Indian View Of Humanity And Divinity". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Hindi theatre is in a sad mess". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  12. ^ "`Dancing takes me places'". The Hindu. 13 April 2004.