Bala Devi Chandrashekar is a Bharatanatyam exponent, research scholar and a passionate committed teacher of Bharatanatyam. Bala is known for her distinct scholarly style, takes on subjects based on ancient philosophical and literary texts, and backed by intense research, collaborates with renowned scholars in the respective fields, carving out messages, relevant to the contemporary world and actively presents across the world. Bala through her classical dance strives to interpret messages in a classicism, that is vivid and simple and communicates across geography, culture, language and religious beliefs.
Bala Devi's lineage is from a family of philosophers and literary scholars. Bala had her initial training under Guru Jayalakshmi Narayanan in Hyderabad, India and went to learn from Dr Padma Subrahmanyam in Chennai, India. Dr Padma Subrahmanyam awarded her the titles Nriya Seva Mani and "Nrityasali - course completion of the 108 Karanas".
Extremely passionate about teaching, and as a Professor of Practice and as the Artistic Director of SPNAPA Academy of Performing Arts, Princeton, New Jersey, Bala imparts valuable knowledge to her many dedicated students. Bala constantly works on developing and perfecting the style that would be seamless and fluid while yet retaining the precision, power and purity of line - typical of classical dance.
As a Professor of Practice, Bala is constantly developing “Performing studies” in collaboration with Theater and Dance, History, Philosophy, Linguistic anthropology and South Asian Departments of various Universities in the United States and served as Fellow and Artist in Residence at The Carl A fields Center@Princeton University. Bala is currently an Associate visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania and a honorary visiting professor at Annamalai University.
Bala is one of the few Bharatanatyam artist worldwide to have released eight critically acclaimed dance production based on her extensive research. They are Nandanar Charithram, MLV favorites, Krishna Arpanam, Uddhava Gita - Lord Krishna's last message, Vishwam - The Omnipresent, Tripura - Divine Feminine, Karna - Destiny's Child, Brihadeeswara - Form to formless through the eyes of a Devaradiyal. All of these works are accompanied by world class music and have been produced in digital format.
Bala Devi has presented over 300 performances across 30 countries. Bala is an empaneled artist of the ICCR, New Delhi and and approved artist by the Ministry of Culture, Govt, of India for overseas performances.
For her contribution to Bharatanatyam, Bala Devi has been recognized with several awards. In the month of April 2019, Bala Devi was given the title of " Kalaimamani' by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu for her contribution to Bharatanatyam. Bala is one of the few Bharatanatyam dancers in the world to have presented her " Brihadeeswara - Form to formless, through eyes of a Devaradiyal " ( based on the 1000 year old UNESCO Heritage site, The Thanjavur Big Temple) at the UNESCO head office in Paris in the month of June 2019, as a part of the world heritage week celebrations. The show was attended by over 500 arts enthusiasts including ambassadors and dignitaries.