Devayani,  Bharat Natyam Dancer,India

Devayani is a French National born in Paris. In her formative years she was nurtured in Classical Ballet at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. She holds a degree of Master of Arts in French and English Literature from Sorbonne University. The Bharata Natyam dance sequence she witnessed in the film Phantom India directed by Louis Malle motivated her to learn this ancient Indian dance. Subsequently, she was awarded a scholarship under the Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme to learn Bharata Natyam in India. Devayani was placed under the tutelage of renowned gurus including Guru K.G. Ellapa Mudaliar in Madras and Kalaimamani V.S. Muthuswamy Pillai. During the period of her early training in Bharata Natyam it became evident that she embodied in abundance a natural talent and inborn gift for music and dance which later projected her to a position of pre-eminence. Today Devayani is the foremost exponent of Bharata Natyam in India and internationally. In the initial stages of her training under eminent gurus she grasped the beauty, rhythm and spiritual power of this nearly 3000 years old dance form which was performed exclusively in South Indian temples for invoking the blessings of the temple deity. Soon after her initial training in Bharata Natyam, her debut performance was witnessed by a distinguished audience which included the film Director Srinivasan who was engaged in the production of a film titled "A Girl from America" ("America Ammayi"). Even though she did not know the indigenous language Devayani was given the lead role as the most important sequences of the film were focused on dances in the Chidambaram Temple, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva who according to Hindu Mythology is the God of Dance. The film was a box office hit. The following achievements and awards bear eloquent testimony to the measure to which Devayani has succeeded in her mission:


Photos of Padma Awards' Ceremony 2009
Devayani, Bharata Natyam Dancer,India
Devayani, Bharata Natyam Dancer,India
Devayani, Bharata Natyam Dancer,India

  • Conferred one of the highest civilian awards, the "PADMA SHRI" by the President of India on January 26.2009.
  • Selected by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, to be Brand Ambasador for "Incredible India" advertising campaign.
  • The “National Women Excellence Award” for her outstanding contribution to Culture, Tradition & Art Promotion.
  • The “Top Cultural Ambassador Award for Excellence” was awarded to Devayani by the Institute of Marketing & Management in New Delhi. This honour was conferred on her in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the internationalisation of Bharata Natyam.
  • Classified as Eminent Artist, by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, New Delhi.
  • “Award for Achievement of Excellence” conferred on Devayani by the Andhra Cultural & Welfare Society,New Delhi.
  • Assisted by the Deptt. of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource and Development, New Delhi for the production 'Devadasi'.
  • “Award for Exemplary contribution to the Art and Tradition of Bharata Natyam”, North Central Zonal Cultural Centre (N.C.Z.C.C.), India.
  • “Award for exemplary contribution to the Art and Tradition of Bharata Natyam”, South Central Zonal Cultural Centre (S.C.Z.C.C.), India.
  • Award at International Choreography Contest, Nyon, Switzerland.
  • Grant from the French Embassy, New Delhi.
  • Awarded the I.C.C.R. Scholarship for four years, New Delhi.
  • Awarded the Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme Scholarship Studied in Madras.

Devayani,  Bharat Natyam Dancer,India


Selected by The Arts Council of England as The First Asian Dancer Artist in Residence to promote Indian Dance and Culture in U.K. Artist in residence at Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne National Dance Agency. Conducted a workshop for the famed Ballet Rambert dance company. T.V. and stage shows during the residency.
Devayani had the distinction to perform at a function held to celebrate the Birthday of the Queen of Denmark in New Delhi. Devayani performed for the United Nations' Day in New Delhi, India's Republic Day Celebrations in Germany, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Birth Centenary in France, Denmark, Germany, the 50th Anniversary of India's Independence in Greece.
Devayani is an active member of The International Dance Council, CID, UNESCO.

Films of Devayanis' performances by BBC, Tyne Tees Television, ITV (UK), Zee TV, Asianet TV (UK, Europe, US), FR3 (France), NET (Greece), Indian T.V. network are periodically telecast to a large audience of viewers.

By conducting master classes, lecture demonstrations, workshops and participating in seminars Devayani has developed internationally an understanding, an awareness of Bharata Natyam as a powerful expression of Temple Art. The forums she has been associated with include :
  • The East West Dance Encounter, Mumbai, India
  • The International Dance Workshop, Bonn, Germany
  • Workshop with Ballet Rambert, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northern Arts, a UK National Dance Agency
  • The Commonwealth Institute, London, U.K.
  • The American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
  • Dhiskha Children's Summer Festival, The Akshara Theatre, New Delhi, India

Devayani,  Bharat Natyam Dancer,India