Chitra Visweswaran

Chitra Visweswaran

Chitra Visweswaran is a leading Bharatnatyam dancer. A competent performer, teacher and choreographer, she heads her own dance institution, 'Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA)', at Chennai.

Chitra's association with dance began early at the tender age of three from her own mother, Smt. Rukmini Padmanabhan. She took up Western Classical Ballet in London where her father was Railway Adviser at the Indian High Commission. This was followed by training in Manipuri and Kathak in Calcutta. Chitra started training under Smt. T. A. Rajalakshmi which continued for 10 years.

In 1970, she received the National Scholarship for advanced study in Bharatnatyam and went for training under Vazhuvoor Ramaiyya Pillai.

Chitra started teaching dance at Calcutta at the age of sixteen and established the Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts in Chennai. She has extensively choreographed several solo and group thematic productions. Noted among these are Krishnanjali, where the concept of the flashback was first introduced, 'Devi Ashta Rasa Malika', 'Panchali' based on Subramania Bharathi’s Panchali Sabadam, 'Raghuvamsa Thilakam', 'Ayothi Mannan', ’Dwarakanatham Bhaje', Dasavatharam', 'Nritya Srinkhala'.

Chitra has performed all over India and the world and her dance lecture series has been documented for reference by several universities. In 1980, she was conferred Nritya choodamani by Krishna gana sabha and convened the first Natya Kala conference. She was conferred the Padma sri by the government of India in 1992 and was invited by the Japan foundation as a special guest to pay tribute to her outstanding contribution to Indian culture and dance.

Chitra's husband, R. Visweswaran was a vocalist, composer and santoor player was  an artist in his own right. Together they were considered a contributive force to be reckoned with in the field of Indian Dance and Music.

Chitra has contributed her own concepts to the traditional Indian dance style through her experimentation and innovations.