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T.Balasaraswati (1918-1984) was born in a family that has been a repository of the Carnatic tradition of music. Her formal training started at the age of four under the late Guru Kandappa Pillai. Balasaraswati's debut took place in her seventh year at Kancheepuram at the Amanakshi Amman temple. Soon she was in great demand for public performances. No dancer captured the public imagination as Balasaraswati did in the thirties and forties. Balasaraswati made the public aware of Bharata Natyam by the beauty and the eloquence of her dancing. She is the recipient of several honours and awards, which include the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Bhushan and an honorary doctorate from the Rabindra Bharati University.