Yogaville Gurukulam camp 2004
“A HOME AWAY FROM HOME”
Report by a special correspondent

The sixteenth annual Gurukulam camp at Yogaville, Virginia US ended on 8th August and the following weekend (on 14th & 15th Aug) Nitya Moothathu and Kannan Rasiah, two of the students of Padmarani Cantu Rasiah (the resident teacher at Yogaville FAS) had their formal Arangetram with great aplomb.

First camp from 4th to 24th July (36 students)
and
Second camp from July 25th to August 8th (25 seniors including Bharatanaatyam teachers and performers)
It is an exciting festive season of six weeks for the Yogaville community. Every one looks forward anxiously to the busy, buzzing activities of Bharatanaatyam, Bhajan a Bhojan of course. Valli Akka and Rajee Akka, (the most affectionate house mothers and kitchen mothers) provide the world’s best cuisines and Larry M Gross - a lawyer who makes lasagna, enchilada and those exotic western cuisines in the evenings are an integral part of the everlasting memories of the true to the word ‘gurukulam’ camp at Yogaville, Virgina. Poojyasri Swami Satchidananda‘s vision fructified by the mother head Amma Rasiah (Rukmini Rasiah) continued for sixteen, successive successful years. Students like Srutiranjani, Madhulika, Anuradha Murali (to name only a few) continue coming to this Gurukulam for the past sixteen years, missing one or two years in between. What attracts them to have this bondage with this Yogaville Ashram - the all pervasive ‘love all serve all’ spell of Swamijee, the Dhananjayans’ (Shantakka & Anna) charismatic art of living, Padmarani’s (Padmakka) immaculate steps that never faults, the dawn to dusk shining smile of Mathaajee - one wonders???
Mathaji & Padmakka
getting ready for yoga class
Students at various age levels do not mind the hardship of practicing almost 8 to 10 hours a day, and it becomes a matter of routine after a few days of aches and breaks. In fact, it turns into a love of labour. At the end of the three week session the first batch mourn, reluctant to leave the place. The exiting performance of the last day is a festive occasion - a celebration of the victory of hard labour - gaining of experience and knowledge in Bharatanaatyam, classical music and yoga in a short spell of 3 weeks. For the entire Yogaville community, it is rejuvenating retreat of a rare treat of enlightening entertainment. This final day presentation was appreciated by an enthralled audience, which included the parents and relatives of the campers.
The second phase of the summer camp started with a day’s break. Seniors included teachers of Bharatanaatyam, professional performers and artistes who had just finished Arangetram. They all came with the confidence of experiencing the Midas touch from the Dhananjayans. Yogaville Fine Arts Society under the motherly meticulous care of Amma Rasiah and fatherly strict guidance of Swami Chidananda, works on a shoestring budget. Rukmini Rasiah, Swami Chidananda and Padmarani are the pillars of the Fine Arts Society and they make it happen every year, come what may be. A service oriented venture commissioned by Swamijee has served the purpose with which Swamijee enunciated the three ’D’ formula, discipline, devotion & dedication.
Tillana by the seniors
The entire group on the final day presentaion
Twenty-five camps in sixteen years have influenced almost a thousand students and they in turn have inspired a million to understand the values of classical Indian art and culture. The service of Yogaville Fine Arts society and the Dhananjayans, is certainly an influencing factor in the Indo American cultural relationship. And as Dhananjayan Anna quotes ‘the NRI children are no more a brand of confused Desis, but a confirmed Desis’
Next year (2005) Naatya Adhyayana Gurukulam camp is already scheduled for July 10th to 30th and 1st to 14th August.
Usually the registrations get filled up by February/March.

For details contact by mail:
Amma Rasiah or Padmarani Canto,
C/o. FAS,
Yogaville, VA. 23921 US
Telefax: 434 969 3210
Email: FAS@yoigaville.org or prcan2@hotmail.com

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