Known as her students as "Padma Aunty," Guru Smt. Padma Sonti is an artist, a teacher, and a choreographer.
An ardent disciple of Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam and Smt. Sobha Naidu, Smt. Sonti began Bharatanatyam lessons at the age of ten under the guidance of Dr. Uma Rama Rao, an event which marked her first foray into the world of classical dance. She continued her exploration of dance by joining the Kuchipudi Art Academy and later receiving the esteemed titles of Natya Visharada in 1983 and Nritya Ratna in 1989 from the Vamsee Arts Theater. Her love and interest in Kuchipudi grew as she went on to earn a Masters degree in dance with a specialization in Kuchipudi. She even received the prestigious National Dance Scholarship from the Government of India.
Smt. Padma Sonti has performed around the world, participating in over three hundred solo recitals and dance ballets. Notable among her repertoire include performances with her gurus at the Hong Kong Festival of Asian Arts, Kuchipudi Forums across North America, and various other places, playing significant roles in ballets such as Sri Krishna Parijatham, Kalyani Srinivasam, and Vipranarayana.
In 1996, Smt. Sonti established the Kuchipudi Kalakshetra School of Dance and has put on many performances throughout the years in order to promote and encourage the growth of Kuchipudi across the North Texas Region. Since the school's inception, she has choreographed productions such as Sivananda Lahari and Datta Darshanam, to name a few. Cultural and charity performances have been a focus of many of the school's performances, including Chandalika, Menaka Vishwamitra, and Kalamalika. Over the years, the Kalakshetra has grown into an established and renowned school that guides its students from their first steps in Kuchipudi to their Rangapravesam and beyond.
Guru Padma continues to be a perpetual student herself and carries on the knowledge to her students. Among her students, she is known to be very thorough and insists that a student should master the present level before moving on to the next. Love of her art dominates everything Guru Padma does, and she imparts her passion for this high art upon each and every one of her students.