The Journey

Narthaki was born in the third gender  in a well to do family near Madurai.  She was subject to social ridicule and rejection. However her passion for dance took her to Shri K P Kittappa Pillai who lived in Tanjore. He accepted her as his disciple and she stayed in his house and trained under him for 14 years. She also worked with him as an assistant in Tanjore Tamil University. Narthaki currently lives in Chennai and travels extensively within and outside India preserving and propagating  the pristine purity of a tradition that is many centuries old. 


Awards and Recognition

  • Vishnu Kala Bharathi - Bharat Kalachar
  • Life Time Achievement - Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan
  • Dharmapuram Aadheenam - Bharatanatya Kalanidhi
  • Dharmapuram Aadheenam - Aasthana Vidwan
  • Nritya Kalanidhi from Music Academy (2022)
  • Padma Shri from Govt of India (2019)
  • Life story featured in the 11th standard Tamil Textbook of Tamilnadu Government (2018)
  • Doctor of Letters from Periyar Maniammai University 2016
  • SNA Purasakar Award from The Hon. President of India 2011
  • Kalaimamani Award from Tamilnadu Govt 2007
  • Empaneled Artist in ICCR
  • Top Grade Artist in Prasar Bharathi
  • Nruthya Choodamani Award from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
  • Senior Fellowship Awardee from Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India (2014-2017)
  • Junior Fellowship Awardee from Sangeet Natak Akademi (2003-2005)
  • Visiting Scholar at Oslo School of Music in Norway
  • Has performed in Cleveland Festival USA, Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan UK and many other International forums and events in USA, Canada, Europe etc.
  • Has performed for prestigious dance festivals and events in India. 

Other Achievements (Sample list)

  • Best dancer and best research on Swathi Thirunal Maharaja's music compositions -award and certificate by Naradha Gana Sabha and Travancore Royal Family Thiruvananthapuram. - 2007
  • Kala Seva Bharathi by Bharat Kalachar Chennai. - 2007
  • Natramizh Nadana Mani by North Carolina Tamil Sangam USA - 2004
  • Best Dance performance award at 6th World Tamil Internet Conference - 2003
  • Natya Peroli by Madurai Adheenam Mutt - 1996
  • Nayaki Bhava Rathnam, Srimath Nadana Gopal Nayaki Mandir Madurai - 1984
  • Worked as an assistant to Shri Kittappa Pillai at Tanjore Tamil University.
  • Main role Demo artist in the documentary recorded by Shri K P Kitappa Pillai for Sangeet Natak Akademi. 

The Path

Sangeeta Kalanidhi Sri K P Kittappa Pillai

Shri K P Kittappa Pillai was a direct descendant of the Tanjore Quartet, Chinnaiah, Ponniah, Sivanandam and Vadivel, who lived during the 18th century and contributed to the development of Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music. 

The quartet were patronized by Serfoji Maharaja of Tanjore and Swati Tirunal of Travancore.

K.P. Kittappa Pillai began his career as a vocalist having been trained by his own father Sri Ponniah Pillai and flourished in that sphere for some time. As a direct disciple of his maternal grandfather, the veteran Nattuvanar Pandanallur Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, Kittappa Pillai established himself as a versatile Nattuvanar during the major part of his career.

K.P. Kittappa Pillai has published works relating to the repertoire of his illustrious ancestors, the Tanjore Quartet; these include Ponniah Mani Malai, Thanjai Natya Isaikaruvoolam, Adi Bharatakala Manjari, Javalis of Chinnayya and Gana Kala Swarabhushani (along with his younger brother veena vidwan Sri K. P.Sivanandam).

Among his other noteworthy contributions to the field of Bharatanatyam, are several rare dance compositions of the Quartet set to dance and Marathi compositions of Shahji Maharaja of Thanjavur in Bharatanatyam format.