The Akademi this year is presenting its Award for Bharatnatyam to Srimati R. Muthurathnambal. We deeply regret her absence today due to indisposition. Representing the fourth generation in a family noted for dancing, Srimati Muthurathnam- bal, now seventy years of age, began her training at the early age of five. Having had the advantage of being trained by her mother and grand-mother under the supervision of her great grandmother, she appear- ed at her first public perform- ance at the tender age of twelve. Srimati Muthurathnambal’s achievement has been to maintain and popularize the best and the most authentic classical tradition of Bharat- natyam for over thirty-five years. Her style of dancing is noted for ‘Kalpana Abhinaya’ (imaginative improvisation of expressions).