Born to K. Subrahmanyam and Meenakshi, Padma Subrahmanyam (Director, Nrityodaya, Chennai, India) is acclaimed as a rare combination of a dancer, research scholar, choreographer, music composer, singer, teacher, author, Indologist and one of the most outstanding artistes of today. Her father Director K. Subrahmanyam was an internationally reputed film pioneer, freedom fighter and a parental personality in the cultural field. Her mother Meenakshi was a music composer, a lyricist in Sanskrit and Tamil and an instrumentalist who played the veena, violin and harmonium.
Encouraged by her father, Padma Subrahmanyam started learning under Kausalya who was a young teacher at Nrityodaya, the dance school founded by her father in 1942.
Later, she came under the wings of guru Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai and had her arangetram in 1956. Recognizing her talent, her father helped her further her capabilities. From Dandayuthapani Pillai, she learnt adavus, from Gowri Ammal she learnt abhinaya. From various devadasis, she learnt 150 different adavus. Thus began her research.
She gave performances conducted by her guru, her school and also continued her college education. Padma has a Bachelor’s degree in Music, Master’s in Ethno Musicology and Ph.D in dance. Her music training was under the famous B.V. Lakshman and Salil Chaudhry.