New Delhi: Noted Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer Yamini Krishnamurti was conferred the title of "Ustad-e-Maa" by eminent Sufi exponent Zila Khan to honour women arts and culture maestros in the capital Tuesday.
The dancer, born in 1940 in Andhra Pradesh, was one of the earliest women pioneers of Bharatnatyam to achieve international celebrity.
Trained initially at Kalakshetra, Krishnamurti honed her skill under the tutelage of Kanchipuram Ellappa Pillai, Thanjavur Kittappa Pillai and Mylapore Gauri Amma.
Krishnamurti learnt Carnatic vocal music from M.D. Ramanathan and veena from Kalpakkam Swaminathan. She trained in Kuchipudi, the traditional dance of Andhra Pradesh, under masters like Vedantam Lakshmi Narayan Shashtri and Pasumarthy Venugopal Krishna Sarma.
She performed on stage for the first time in 1957 and has dominated the Bharatnatyam scene since 1960.
"Ustad-e-Maa", a concept initiated by Zila Khan, seeks to empower fellow women artists with professional prefix.
"The title is symbolic of the female guru or "ustad" like the male counterpart," Khan said.
Khan has been supported in her venture by the patrons of Ustadgah, her school of Sufi music.
Those present at the function held at at the India Habitat Centre included union ministers Farooq Abdullah, Salman Khurshid and kathak maestro Birju Maharaj.
The presentation ceremony was followed by a recital of Sufi kalaam by Zila Khan and narration by Najib Jung, the vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia.
Jung, an accomplished poet, recited from his own poetry.