Saroja Vaidyanathan, the Bharatanatyam dancer, passes away

Saroja Vaidyanathan, the Bharatanatyam dancer, passes away


Saroja Vaidyanathan, a Bharatanatyam dancer, passed away at her home in this city early on Thursday, only two days after her 86th birthday.

About Saroja Vaidyanathan

Known for her proficiency in the traditional Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam, Saroja Vaidyanathan was a well-known choreographer and teacher from India. She made important contributions to the dance world and was honoured with numerous accolades. 

Early Childhood and Education

  • On September 19, 1937, Saroja Vaidyanathan was born in Bellary, Karnataka, India.
  • She received her Bharatanatyam instruction in Chennai’s Saraswati Gana Nilayam before continuing her studies with Thanjavur’s Kattumannar Muthukumaran Pillai.
  • She studied Carnatic music at Madras University with Professor P. Sambamoorthy in addition to dance.
  • She graduated with a D.Litt in dance from Khairagarh’s Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya.

Career in Bharatanatyam:

  • After her marriage, Saroja Vaidyanathan originally stopped performing because of the conservative and unfavourable responses to her public appearances. Instead, she concentrated on at-home dance instruction for kids.
  • After her husband was transferred to Delhi in 1974, she founded the Ganesa Natyalaya, where she taught Bharatanatyam to students.
  • The Ganesa Natyalaya eventually had its building in the Qutub Institutional Area in 1988 thanks to the financial support of well-wishers and sponsors.
  • She placed a strong emphasis on a comprehensive approach to dance instruction, teaching her students not only dance but also Tamil, Hindi, and Carnatic vocal music.
  • A talented choreographer, Saroja Vaidyanathan is credited with almost 2000 solo Bharatanatyam compositions and ten complete ballets.
  • She went on a cultural tour of South East Asia in 2002 with prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.


  • Many works on Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music were written by Saroja Vaidyanathan, including “The Classical Dances of India,” “Bharatanatyam – An In-Depth Study,” “Karnataka Sangeetham,” and “The Science of Bharatanatyam.”

Honours and Awards:

  • During her lifetime, Saroja Vaidyanathan was given numerous accolades and important awards, including the Padma Shri in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan in 2013. Both of these awards were given by the Indian government.
  • She also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Kalaimamani title from the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram, and the Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman from the Delhi government.
  • She received the honorary title of “Bharata Kalai Sudar” in 2006.


Through her instruction and choreography, Saroja Vaidyanathan significantly influenced the careers of many dancers, as well as the preservation and development of Bharatanatyam. Her family members, who are also talented dance artists, are carrying on her legacy. At the age of 86, Saroja Vaidyanathan passed away on September 21, 2023.