Kalamandalam Kshemavathy

Kalamandalam Kshemavathy

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Category: Art

Kalamandalam Kshemavathy Profile

  • Name:
  • Kalamandalam Kshemavathy
  • Spouse:
  • V. K. Pavitran

Kalamandalam Kshemavathy Biography

Kalamandalam Kshemavathy is an accomplished classical dancer and teacher from Thrissur, Kerala. Learned classical dance forms from the most prestigious art institute of Kerala – Kerala Kalamandalam, she has been associated with the field for almost 5 decades. Though she has been trained in Kuchipudi and Bharathanatyam, she chose Mohiniattam. She has also performed in Kathakali. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2011 for her contributions to Mohiniyattam. She received Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award for Bharatanatyam at the age of 29. Kalamandalam Award for Mohiniattam came in 1993, Kendriya Nataka Academy Award in 1999 and Nritya Natya Puraskar in 2008 are other major honours received by her.


She was born in 1948 into a family interested in art, theater and music. She learnt small pieces like Kaaliya Mardhanam from local teachers during her early childhood. Kochukuttan asan and a neighbour Hansa were among her early teachers. At the age of 11, she joined Kerala Kalamandalam. For the interview, she performed Kaaliya Mardhanam before the great Malayalam poet Vallathol, and he was pleased by her performance. Thus she got admission, and the next five years at Kalamandalam shaped her as a good dancer. She trained in in Kuchipudi, Bharathanatyam and Mohiniattam. Later she performed at many stages in Chennai. She also learned Kathakali from Kalamandalam Balasubramaniam and together they presented Damayanthi Hamsam.


Her first solo performance of Mohiniattam was for Vallathol centenary celebrations held at Delhi. In the early 1970s she got opportunity to perform at Ninth Congress Convention, a national event in Maharaja College ground, Kochi. She was given an opportunity to perform by President of the Kerala Sahitya Academy then, renowned Malayalam writer, Ponkunnam Varkey. Kshemavathy as a Mohiniyattam dancer was born, and there was no turning back after that. She got married to renowned filmmaker, V. K. Pavithran. The couple had two daughters – Lakshmi and Eva Pavithran. Eva appeared in a few Malayalam films and is concentrated on to fashion industry.

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Updated: June 19, 2016


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