Shri Mankompu Sivasankara Pillai was born in 1922 in Kerala and was initiated in Kathakali by the elders of his family. He was later trained by Guru Thakazhi Ayyappan Pillai and Guru Chenganllur Raman Pillai, the great exponents of the Southern Kathakali style. He received lessons in Kathakali literature and Rasabhinaya from Sri Pannisseril Nanu Pillai. Shri Sivasankara Pillai is a master of various types of Kathakali roles, excelling in the Pacha type. He dominated female roles in an earlier phase. Shri Pillai has been a Guru in various institutions, joining Kerala Kalamandalam in 1966 to impart training in the Chengannur tradition. Retiring in 1983, he is now a visiting professor at Kerala Kalaman- dalam. Shri Pillai has written on Kathakali and helped Guru Raman Pillai in bringing out a book on its training. He has co- authored an edition of Kothakali Provesika, the oldest work on the art in verse. Shri Pillai received the best Artiste Award of Kerala Kalamandalam in 1984 and has been a member of the Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademi. For his eminence in the field of Dance and his contribution to its enrichment, Shri Mankom- pu Sivasankara Pillai receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Kathakali for 1985.