Yamini emerged as a brilliant dancer on the contemporary stage with her first performance in Chennai in 1957. Prior to that, she was in Kalakshetra and trained in bharatnatyam under the guidance of Rukmini Devi. She also took part in various dance dramas choreographed by Rukmini Devi. She was awarded a Govt. Of India scholarship for further studies which she conducted under Conjeevaram Ellappa Pillai and Kittappa Pillai of Tanjore. She moved to Delhi in 1958 and gave public performances in the capital. For sometime she taught bhratnatyam in the Sangeet Bharti Institute in Delhi. But later on, for more than twenty five years, she concentrated on giving performances only.
From the very beginning of her career, Yamini received guidance from her father Professor Krishnamurti, who was a arudite scholar well versed in Sanskrit literature. Yamini’s younger sister Jyoti, used to accompany her for singing and conducting nattuvangam. As a matter of fact, theirs was an excellent team. The introductions by Professor Krishnamurti to the different items performed by Yamini, Jyoti’s melodious singing and competent nattuvangam, and Yamini’s superb dancing were a real treat! She soon reached the top on account of sheer merit and excellence and achieved success and fame as a great dancer all over the world, which she rightly deserved.
Vastly gifted with a resilient body, supple and tall frame, long limbs, an amazing stamina, a visage with large luminous eyes which she used with great effect, Yamini used to cast a spell on her audience. Her nritta was chiselled and dynamic. The pure dance found a felicitous treatment in the hands of Yamini. Her lines were arresting, movements complete, powerful and energetic. The exquisite utplavanaas – the jumps, the postures and the stance and an overall image that she created, wre literally dazzling and lingered in one’s memory long after the recital was over! With her advent, the nritta aspect of dance shone forth like a multi faceted diamond. She set standards which influenced the generation of younger exponents who followed her.
In abhinaya, Yamini’s treatment of shringara was enticing. The uninhibited display of passion within the traditional framework was full bloodied and enchanting. Whatever she performed, she invested the number with a freshness which was quite captivating. The emotion ran through her vibrant frame lending her personality an incandescent glow and revealed her total involvement with the art. She performed a traditional repertoire but imbued it with a distinct stamp of her own magic. Yamini had a tremendous assurance and delectable element of arrogance which suited her personality admirably. Her entries and exits were impressive. One instantly felt that one was in the presence of a great artiste.
Yamini had a theatrical stage presence. A mature artiste, critical of her own performances, she never imitated anyone. Dance is an all-consuming passion in her life. With her innumerable performances, she succeeded in bringing to the notice of her audiences, wherever she has performed whether in India or abroad, the exquisite grandeur of bharatanatyam.
A documentary film was made on her by the Films Division of the govt. Of India. She has written an auto biography “A Passion For Dance” in 1995. Among the several awards that she has received, she is the recipient of the Padmashri and Sangeet Nataka Akademi award. She lives in Delhi and still runs a dance school with hundreds of students enrolled under her able guidance.