Madhusri Profile

Madhusri Raj Sethuraman (Madhusri Muthuswamy) hails from a family where excellence in fine arts has been a tradition over generations. Madhusri took to Bharatanatyam at the age of four under the world renowned dancer Padmabushan Smt. Kamala. The devoted endeavor on the part of her guru enabled the disciple to present her Arangetram at the age of eight. As a child artiste, Madhusri had the rare distinction of performing for the Lions Club to commemorate the International Year of the Child.

The captivating brilliance of her display and rhythm in her feet brought widespread appreciation, several dance awards, television appearances, and even an instant cash gift.

Madhusri blossomed into an accomplished artist under the tutelage of Late Kalaimamani Sri. S.K. Rajarathnam Pillai, a renowned teacher and a great exponent of the art, and took lessons in Abhinaya (facial expressions) from the Late Padmabushan Kalanidhi Narayanan, who has a special place of her own in this field. With about 25 years of training, Madhusri has performed all over the U.S., India, Europe, Australia, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore; notable among them are her performances for Indian Council of Cultural Relations and International Dance Alliance.

Madhusri came to the U.S. in 1988 and received her MBA from the University of Iowa in 1990. Since 1988, Madhusri has been engaged in promoting the art of Bharatanatyam through several forums. She was a visiting instructor at the University of Iowa and taught students at the Maharishi International University. Madhusri has also conducted dance workshops in several elementary and high schools through an organization called Arts Outreach in Iowa and the Young Audiences of Greater Dallas.

In 1992, she founded Srutilaya School of Dance to promote classical Indian dance. She has trained over 1,000 students and conducted over 130 arangetrams. She has choreographed 23 dance ballets and performed them along with her students in the U.S., India, China and Hong Kong. Some of her ballets include Ramayana, Krishna Leela, Sneetches, Nava Rasa, Valli Kalyanam, Uthama Chakaravarthy (Ideal King), Penn (Woman), Pandora’s Box, Sivananda Lahiri, Dance Eclectica, Seven Wonders and Dances of Love. She has also received arts council grants for some of her productions.

During the Millenium dance festival in Chennai, India, Madhusri’s dance prowess and her contributions to the dance field were recognized by two major cultural organizations. She was conferred the titles of Natya Tharagai (Star of Dance) and Natya Mayuri (Dancing like the Peacock) in January 2001. During this trip to India, she also performed for a fundraiser in aid of building hospitals in rural Tamil Nadu.

In October 2005, she was invited to perform at Miami University as part of the Global Rhythms concert and choreographed a dance piece to fusion instrumental music. In November 2005, she was featured on Channel 5 Dallas television during her performance for American Airlines’ inaugural flight to New Delhi. In June 2006, Madhusri was invited to perform in reputed theaters and universities in China to commemorate the Indo-China Friendship year. Madhusri’s zeal for collaborating with dancers from other cultures and her interest in devoting her dance skills to charitable causes led to a mega-production called “Pandora’s Box” in 2007. The event raised over $10,000 for promoting child literacy in India. She has been associated with Charity through Art (CHAART) Foundation since its founding in 2007 – she has organized multicultural fundraiser dance events to create awareness among the youth about the various cultures and dance forms, as well as to help numerous charitable organizations.

In 2012, Madhusri toured with a few of her students to India for performances in Chennai and Delhi, where her choreography and nattuvangam skills were greatly appreciated. In 2014, she performed with her daughter in Bombay and Chennai during the Music and Dance season. Madhusri celebrated Srutilaya’s Silver Jubilee (25th year) with two group dance performances – Yatra, a traditional margam choreographed as group dances, and Amrapali, a grand Indian classical dance ballet.

In 2015, Madhusri was awarded the title “Natya Kalakaumudhi” by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. In addition, she was awarded the title “ Abinaya Bharathi” for her contribution to Abhinaya by an arts organization in Chennai.

In 2022, Madhusri choreographed and released “Uruvi,” the first online dance drama with closed captions. She orchestrated this unique production in the middle of the COVID pandemic, with the aim of motivating students who were forced to stay at home and providing work to struggling artists.