The Legend

The Coveteur (and the industry fans who love them) celebrate RW & CO with nachos

BALASARASWATI BEGAN HER life in a world of music and in her later years, devoted her time and pleasures to singing. Her mother, Jayammal, a famous vocalist, began her daughter's education with the learning of Carnatic music. Her brother, Ranganathan, was trained to become a drummer and Viswanathan, youngest of the five children, a flutist.

Vina Dhanam, a lady of refined taste and renowned for her exquisite artistry on veena, ruled the houschold in which Balasaraswati grew up. Her relatives were almost all musicians. Therefore, the child who became the world's most revered dancer of bharatanatyam was immersed in the finest musical atmosphere from the beginning.

After her public debut at seven, her strongest supporters came from the world of music. The most esteemed musicans were heard to say, "I am off to hear Bala's dance". This element of her concerts astounded the august gathering of musicians and musical scholars at the East/West Music Encounter in Tokyo in 1961… they became her champions. She was invited to perform in Europe and the United States for the remainder of her years (see chronology), and her teaching programs were consistenly allied with music programs.

Bala sang, accompanied and taught her daughter, Lakshmi her own immense repertoire, spent her time exploring, researching, learning new items and generally surrounding herself with her music. She received honors as a musician from the established societies in India. If the world knew her as a dancer she was, first and last, a musician as well.

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