Academy of Bharata Natyam was established in the year 1948 by Sri T.K.Narayan. Since then, the Academy has trained hundreds of students from India and abroad. Most of the students have attained a professional level. The Academy aims to preserve and practice this traditional art in its authentic form.
Sri T.K.Narayan, born in Hassan, Karnataka, was the direct disciple of the great and revered Gurus Sri Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and Sri Muthu Kumara Pillai, dating back to the 1940s. He was inspired and closely associated for several years, with the legendary dancers Ram Gopal and Madam Menaka. He also worked as a Director of their institutions before starting his own Academy. The two Ballets, Tagore's "Chitra" and "Birth of our Nation", produced and directed by Sri. T.K Narayan in Bombay, in the year 1947 along with Smt. Himakesarcodi and Sri Krishnan Kutty won the highest appreciation not only by Lord and Lady Mountbatten but all over India as well. His long career as a lecturer and later as principal of the Government College of Music and dance in Hyderabad was replete with remarkable service in this field.
Smt. Jayalakshmi Narayan was a talented vocalist, connected with the Academy by her marriage to Sri T.K.Narayan. Her tireless teaching for over four decades in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad was instrumental for the high reputation of the Academy. She conducted performances by singing and doing Nattuvangam herself. This ability enabled her to travel all over Europe and Russia accompanying the famous legendary danseuse Smt. Kamala in 1961. She also had a successful teaching stint in Singapore Fine Arts Society in 1976.
photo- Chidambaram, 1955
Smt. Gayathri Keshavan, a Bharata Natyam dancer, teacher and composer is the Director of Academy of Bharata Natyam, Bangalore. Gayathri, born in Thiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu), raised in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and settled in Bangalore (Karnataka) has imbibed the culture and tradition of three states. She is blessed to have her parents, Sri T.K.Narayan and Smt.Jayalakshmi Narayan as her gurus in Bharata Natyam and Classical Music. An Arts graduate, Gayathri wrote articles on classical dances of India for a reputed newspaper and magazines for educational institutions. The 'Government of India Scholarship Award' in 1973 provided an opportunity to enhance her knowledge through other eminent artists of that period. Besides her dancing career, Gayathri also had many years of training in Carnatic Music and Veena. This has had a great impact on her compositions for many dance dramas presented by her. With a career spanning over sixty years, Gayathri has to this day the experience of dancing and teaching both in India and abroad. She was invited several times to various International Dance Festivals in Europe, the USA and Mexico. She was a faculty member for the 'Friends World Program' of Long Island University (USA), for nearly a decade.
She was also the external examiner for the Post Graduation, Performing Arts students of Bangalore University and Jain University. She is also the member of the selection committee for CCRT, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. Gayathri was awarded the 'National Vocational Excellence (2014 and 2016)' by the IISER, Bangalore, and 'Natya Mayuri National Award'. Apart from conducting many Arangetrams, she has also staged major dance productions like Andal Paasuram, Sant Darshan, Hari Om Shivam, Poothana Moksham, Ramayanam, Dashavataram, Kutrala Kuravanji, Nimishamba Devi, Sri Vishwanatham, Samudra Manthan etc.
Maithreyi Keshavan Barve, daughter and disciple of Gayathri Keshavan, carries the mantle of their family tradition, representing the fourth generation of Guru-Shishya Parampara. She is a Commerce graduate and has a Master's Degree in Bharata Natyam. Maithreyi is trained in Carnatic Music by Smt. Saraswati Ananthakrishnan and mother Gayathri Keshavan. She has twenty five years of experience in this art field in various capacities. Maithreyi has also performed and taught in Mexico, England and Singapore. She instills the love for this art in young children with her passion for teaching.
Ananya Barve, daughter of Maithreyi Barve and great grand daughter of the Narayans, is also undergoing systematic training in Bharata Natyam, Carnatic Music and Veena. She has also performed in India and Singapore for the Academy's productions.
Mathangi Keshavan, daughter and disciple of Gayathri Keshavan, is based in London and takes forward the legacy by teaching, choreographing and performing in the UK.
With a Masters in Bharatanatyam and experience in the financial services industry, Mathangi finds innovative use of the dance vocabulary by visualising and exploring inspirations from everyday life to create ingenious and futuristic narratives in dance.
Meenakshi Ananth, is the grand daughter of the Narayans, niece and disciple of Smt. Gayathri Keshavan. An engineer by profession, she has a Masters degree in Bharata Natyam. She has been performing for over a decade and ably supports the music ensemble by playing the Nattuvangam. She has been trained in Carnatic Music by her mother Smt. Ananthalakshmi.