Gopi Krishna (August 22, 1935 – February 18, 1994) was an Indian dancer, actor and choreographer.
He was born into a family of Kathak dancers. His maternal grandfather Pandit Sukhdev Maharaj was a teacher of Kathak and his aunt Sitara Devi is a Kathak dancer who has performed around the world. When he was 11 years old, Gopi Krishna began training under his grandfather. He also learned from Shambhu Maharaj. In addition to Kathak, Gopi Krishna learned Bharatanatyam from Mahalingam Pillai and Govind Raj Pillai.Despite suffering from chronic asthma he continued to expand his dance repertoire, receiving the title of "Nataraj" (King of Dancers) at the All Bengal Music Conference at the age of 15.
In 1952, 14 year old Gopi Krishna became one of the youngest choreographers in the Hindi film history when he was hired to choreograph dances for Madhubala in Saqi.
In 1955, he appeared in his first film Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje where he played Girdhar, a talented young dancer whose love for his partner jeopardizes his dancing career. The film was successful and helped to revitalize public interest in classical dance.
He also choreographed many films like Dastaan, Mehbooba, Umrao Jaan and The Perfect Murder.During the 1960s and 70s, he toured India's border posts, entertaining soldiers with Sunil Dutt's Ajanta Arts Cultural Troupe.Gopi Krishna later established the Nateshwar Bhavan dance academy and the Nateshwar Nritya Kala Mandir.
In 1975 the Indian government awarded him India's fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri. He set a world record for the longest continuous Kathak dance at 9 hours and 20 minutes.
On February 18, 1994 he had a massive heart attack in his Bombay home and died later that night.