Tanjore Balasaraswati, also known as Balasaraswati (13 May 1918 – 9 February 1984), was an Indian dancer, and her rendering of Bharatanatyam, a classical dance style originated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, made this style of dancing well known in different parts of India and many parts of the world.
She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1957 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1977, the third and the second highest civilian honours given by the Government of India. In 1981 she was awarded the Sangeetha Kalasikhamani award of The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai.
Balasaraswati was a seventh generation representative of a traditional matrilineal family of temple musicians and dancers (devadasis, who traditionally enjoyed high social status), who have been described as the greatest single repository of the traditional performing arts of music and dance of the southern region of India. Her ancestor, Papammal, was a musician and dancer patronized in the mid-eighteenth century by the court of Thanjavur. Her grandmother, Veenai Dhanammal (1867–1938), is considered by many to be the most influential musician of the early twentieth century. Her mother, Jayammal (1890–1967) was a singer who encouraged the training of Balasaraswati and was her accompanist.