Shri. Guru Sadanam Balakrishnan was born in 1944 in Taliparamba in North Kerala and showed remarkable interest in Kathakali from his child hood. He was initiated into this art by Guru Kondiveetil Narayanan Nair under the patronage of Late. Brahmashri. Kurumathur Narayanan Namboothiripad and subsequently took intensive training for 10 years (8 years diploma and 2 years post diploma with Central government Scholarship) under famous Gurus ThekinkattilRamunni Nair and KeezhupadamKumaran Nair at Gandhi SevaSadan Kathakali Academy. It was during his training under the most outstanding contemporary Guru, shri Keezhupadam Kuamaran Nair that Balakrishnan blossomed into a great artiste and competent teacher.
Before joining International Centre for Kathakali in 1974 Shri Balakrishnan has worked as artiste and teacher in well known, institutions like Paras sinikadavu Sree Muthappan Kathakali Yogam, Gandhi SevaSadan Kathakali Academy, Perur and took over charge as Principal and chief artiste since 1980 on the retirement of his Guru.During this tenure with the international Centre for Kathakali, Shri Balakrishnan got ample opportunities to prove his mettle in the three departments of Kathakali, i.e., Abhinaya, Choreography and Direction and Teaching. He has got the outstanding ability to do justice to all important Kathakali characters. And the characters presented by Shri Balakrishnan are highly acclaimed both by the media and the audience.
Shri. Balakrishnan is rated as one of the most outstanding teachers in this discipline today. He has the capacity to bring out the best in his students.
Balakrishnan's services are also often sought by institutions and artistes from India as well as from abroad; such as National School of Drama, Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, Indian Council for Cultural Relation, Delhi University, ARTA (Association de Recherches des Traditions de l'Actor, France), Bhoomika, SPIC-MACAY, Bhaskara etc., for teaching, conducting workshop, lecture demonstration and full fledged Kathakali performance.
Shri. Sadanam Balakrishnan has received many awards and honors, including the Prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademy in 2004.The Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad awarded Sadanam Balakrishnan its prestigious 'Parishad Samman' 1988' for his outstanding contribution to Kathakali.
Natana Bhaskara Award from Bharata Kalanjali & Bhaskara - 2003.
G.S.S. Kathakali Academy Golden Jubilee Award - 2003.
Gold Medal - Ayyappa Temple, Haridwar - 1999.
Kala Snehi Award - 1995
Alapathi Ramachandra Rao Kala Peedham Award - 1991
Gold Medal, Mudralaya, London - 1990
Swathi Thirunal Nadalaya Award - 1986
Shri. Balakrishnan has been awarded two senior fellowship by Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
1. A study on stylized costume and Head Gear of Kathakali characters with reference to those in Dance Drama of South India (Aharya Abhinaya).
2. Preparation of Manual and Syllabus for new Kathakali style based on the prevailing three different styles.
He has completed a higher study and research on Northern Kathakali style with the financial assistance of Central Sangeet Natak Academy.
Shri. Balakrishnan has choreographed and produced more than 25 new Kathakali Plays which enriched the traditional Kathakali repertoire.
Apart from Choreography Balakrishnan has written Attakathas and composed music. One of the masterpieces of his production is Shakespeare’s Othello. Today Othello is one of the must sought after Kathakali play.
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