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Privileged to learn dance
By Gowri Ramnarayan
featured in THE HINDU, Friday Review, Nov 27, 2009
Suresh Sridhar had talent and opportunities aplenty, but could not make it as a solo dancer. Why?
Bharata Kalanjali alumni Suresh Sridhar speaks
SOORYA INTERNATIONAL, Singapore chapter honored The Dhananjayans with LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD and PLAQUE OF HONOUR on 8th November in a colourful ceremony at Singapore Conference Hall on the occasion of commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society.

The function was followed with a Carnatic vocal concert by the couple Trivandrum Krishnakumar and Binny Krishnakumar and a full length Bharatanaatyam performance by The Dhananjayans and their troupe consisting of senior artistes DIVYA SIVA, GOPUKIRAN AND LAVANYA RAGHURAMAN.

The chief architect of Soorya Global Festival, Mr. Soorya Krishnamurthy was also present on the occasion to felicitate the couple who are on their way back home from a successful tour of Australia under the aegis, Naatyanjali Australia Incorporated, (Non profit organisation) and supported by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR, Delhi).
Dhananjayans in Sydney
Sumi's Musings, Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
A talk titled “Classical Arts and Human Heritage” by VP Dhananjayan on 3rd October (Saturday) 2009 at 05.30 pm at Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya Campus for Tamil Heritage Group - Chennai.
Click here for the speech in Tamil
Thiruvanmiyur Kerala Samajam honoured and felicitated The Dhananjayans for their receiving this year's PADMABHUSHAN AWARD from The President of India. At a colourful function to celebrate the Onam festival, a large community of Keralites gave a rousing welcome. The popular cine actor Thalaivasal Vijay felicitated the couple. Sri M. Jananrdanan (President of the Samajam) presented a citation and ponnadai.
REGATTA CULTURAL SOCIETY, a very well established and well known performing arts Institution in Thiruvanandapuram, Kerala headed by Smt. Girija Chandran celebrated their 37th Annual Naatya Sangeeta Utsavam between 24th and 31st September 2009.
Naatyaacharya V.P.Dhananjayan inaugurated the festival on 24th.
Shanta & Dhananjayan were honoured and felicitated on 25th Sept by the Kerala Poet Laureate Dr.O.N.V.Kurup for their receiving Padmabhushan this year and a Mangala-patram (Citation in Malayalam, poetry written by the great poet and lyricist Kaithapram Damodaran) was presented to them in front of a large gathering giving thunderous applause.
On the 26th, the Dhananjayans, Divya Sivasundar and Gopukiran performed Bharatanaatyam for a houseful of connoisseur audience.

The Dhananjayans, Smt Girija Chandran & Dr.O.N.V.Kurup

Dr.O.N.V.Kurup presenting the Citation to the Dhananjayans
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Alapana, a Music and Naatya institution in Singapore celebrated their 10th anniversary on 6th September with a colourful function and performance by little children, Panchatantra put up by Lavanya Raghuraman (a disciple of the Dhananjayans).
The program was dedicated to the Dhananjayans and they were honoured and felicitated.
These pictures shows the Dhananjayans with Alapana's little ones.
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Naatyaachaarya Shanta and V.P.Dhananjayan were honoured and felicitated for their immense contribution to the field of performing arts and in particular Bharatanaatyam, by Narada Gana Sabha's dance wing NAATYARANGA.
The 13th Naatya Ranga Annual Thematic Festival was inaugurated on 27th August at Gyanananda Hall Alwarpet. Mr. V. Shankar, President of Mumbai Shanmughananda Sabha and a business magnate felicitated the Dhananjayans and gave away a gold medal, citation and a cheque for rupees ten thousand.
Dhananjayan presented a new Naatya presentation on BHEESHMA (the great hero of Mahaabhaarata epic).
A full compliment of audience in the hall gave enthusiastic ovation at the end.
Details - Reviews - Photo Album of Bheeshma
Three Padma awardees from Kerala felicitated
featured in THE HINDU, TAMILNADU, Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009
Award conferred on Bharatanatyam dancers
featured in THE HINDU, TAMILNADU, Monday, June 15, 2009
VP Dhananjayan and Shantha Dhananjayan were conferred with the GURU SRESHTA AWARD, in recognition of their contribution to Indian classical dance, by the Salangai Academy of Indian Classical Arts in Trichy on June 14, 2009.

The Gurukulam camp will be on from July 8th to August 3rd 2009
1st camp - (All level)
July 8th - July 25th (18 days)

2nd camp - (Intermediate & Senior)
July 25th - August 3rd - (10 days)

Annual Gurukulam camp at Yogaville, Satchidananda Ashram is a ‘HOME AWAY FROM HOME” .

For more details and registration kindly contact
Rukmini Rasiah (President Fine Arts Society)
Telefax: 434 969 3210
email: FAS@yogaville.org

Padma Cantu (Artistic Director)
Ph: 804-262-6281
email: prcan2@gmail.com

For more details click
General information
1st camp Course details
1st camp Registration
2nd camp Course details & Registration

Previous camps
Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs informs us that the National honour PADMA BHUSHAN should not be used as title prefixing or suffixing our names. It is unconstitutional to use this award as 'title'.

Therefore this is our earnest request NOT TO address us prefixing the "Padma Bhushan". We are allowed to say in our bio data as under:
Awarded Padma-Bhushan by the President of India.
- The Dhananjayans

Dhananjayan's 70th birth day was celebrated at Kalakshetra. Bharatakalanjali alumni surprised every one with a novel and unique presentation.
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Cleveland Thyagaraja Aaraadhana committee honored senior artistes with their annual 'Rathnaakara' awards. The Dhannajayans received Nritya Rathnaakara on April 11, 2009. They were presented the traditional Veera Sringhala (bracelets) by Cleveland Sundaram & Toronto Venkatraman. The other awardees were M.S.Gopalakrishnan (violin maestro), Parasala Ponnamma (veteran Sangeeta Aachaaryaa).
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Gopalakrishna Bharati's NANDANAAR CHARITAM was presented as an opera singing by senior concert musicians with Naatyaachaarya Dhananjayan's Abhinaya (expressive interpretations) for some of the popular Padams.
Event Details
The Dhananjayans received the Padma Bhushan Award from President Pratibha Patil at the civil investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on March 31, 2009 for development, preservation and propagation of the best of Kalakshetra tradition of Bharatanatyam through their dance academy Bharatakalanjali.
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Dhananjayan with ace Kathakali Artiste Kalamandalam Gopi
At the Rashtrapathi Bhavan with Manomohan (younger brother), Satyajit, Anupama & Divya Siva
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Zee TV, Medimix, Sanjeevanam, Gokulam Chit and all Malayalee Organisations jointly gave a rousing felicitation to The Dhananjayans on 3rd April coinciding with the gala launch of Dr. K.J.Yesudas's musical journey for world peace. Smt. Sujatha, ace playback singer presented the momento to Dhananjayan (Shanta did not attend). This mega event was held at the Royapettah YMCA grounds. A large crowd greeted the Padmabhushan awardees which included several VVIPs and film personalities such as Vairamuthu, Unnikrishnan, Gokulam Gopalan, Nandakumar (Medimix), Anoop (Sanjeevanam), etc.
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Hearty welcome to the Dhananjayans at the Meenambakkam Air port on 1st April.
Picture shows a section of the Malayalee Kshema Association members who gave a hearty welcome to the Padmabhushan Dhananjayans on arrival at Chennai Airport after receiving the civil honour from the President of India Smt. Prathibha Patil.
Delhi Tamizh Sangam gave special felicitations to all awardees from Tamizhnaadu. Gnanapeedam Jayakanthan spoke on behalf of all awardees. President Krishnamurthy felecitated every one.
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Felicitations in Delhi by Delhi Kerala Club and other Malayalee Associations
T.K.Achutan Nair, Principal Secretary of Prime Minister presided and felicitated all the Keralites who received this year's Padma awards including the veteran Kathakali Assaan Kalamandalam Gopi.
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KANCHEEPURAM SSKV Institution felicitated the Dhananjayans on their getting Padmabhushan in a befitting function on 23rd March.

The picture shows Dr. C.K.Raman Secretary presenting a memento to Dhananjayan. Dhananjayan gave away the prizes and certificates to the children who participated in various Art competitions. SSKV's department of performing arts presented a variety program of Music & dance by students trained by their staff members in honour of Dhananjayan who was the chief guest for their annual day celebration.
Kathakali Asan T.K.Chandu Panikkar Saamskarika Saahiti, Trikkaripur, where Dhananjayan had spent his early days, celebrated the event with great pomp and show. The whole village gathered there to give a rousing welcome to their celebrity Padma Bhushan Dhananjayans and of course the main attraction was their favourite Lakshmi Gopalaswamy - Malayalam Film Actress and Bharatanaatyam dancer. Mr. Kunjanbu (Congress leader) presided and gave away the momentos to the Dhananjayans. It was indeed a big celebration for the village.
A few pictures taken on the occasion with Lakshmi Gopalaswamy and other dignitaries.
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Rousing welcome to the Padma Bhushan awardees Shanta & Dhananjayan at their birth places:

The Dhananjayans had a rousing reception at Dhananjayans' birth place Payyanur. The picture shows the celebrated film lyricist, music composer and Malayalam poet Sri. Kaithapram Damodran Nambuthiri giving a meomento to The Dhananjayans on 7th March 09, in the precinct of the famous Payyanur Subrahmania Temple.
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Kannur Saamskaarika Saahiti Headed by Prof.Mohamad Ahamad and the cream of elites in the District head quarter (Kannur) felicitated Shanta & Dhananjayan in a befitting manner.
District Congress President Mr. Ramakrishnan and several other Congress dignitaries spoke on the occasion and expressed their pride and happiness in a couple of the region getting this prestigious Padma Award. While Dhananjayan is from Payyanur (Kannur dist), Shanta is from Chittur (Palakkad Dist). Shanta's grandfather's home is in Kannur.
The picture shows Mr.Ramakrishnan presenting a momento to the couple. The old time ace foot ball player and a philanthropist P.P.Lakshmanan was also present.
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Annur Sanjay Smaraka Library felicitated the Padma Bhushan awardees:

One of the best libraries in Kerala (SANJAYAN SMAARAKA VAAYANA SAALA) Poet laureate Sanjay Memorial Library trustees and the reader members gave a touching welcome to their beloved Dhananjayan and his wife Shanta, sharing a proud moment in their life celebrating their getting the Padmabhushan award.

The pictures show the members and the Foot ball celebrity PP Lakshmanan giving momento to the Dhananjayans, at a function held on March 6th at the Library hall.
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Kerala Kalamandalam felicitates The Dhananjayans.
On 5th March 09, Kerala Kalamandalam University Vice Chancellor Dr. K.G.Paulose, staff and students gave a rousing welcome to Shanta & Dhananjayan. In the morning they had an interactive session with Post graduate students and Mohiniattam Professor Leelamma, Kathakali maestro MPS Nambuthiri and others.

Picture shows the VC felicitating the Dhananjayans in the evening special function. Kalamandalam Ramesan's new Naatya called 'Amritanaatya' was presented as a tribute to the maestros..
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33rd National Level Dance Drama Festival in Memory of Smt. Rukminidevi (Founder Kalakshetra, Chennai), organised by Sri Lalithakala Academy Foundation Mysore, jointly cosponsored by Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University (SVYASA University Bengaluru) honoured Shanta & Dhananjayan with the title and honour of "Lalithakala Ratna" on February 28, 2009.
Justice Smt. Manjula Chellur (Karnatak High court) gave away the award and Dr. H.R. Nagendra (Vice-chancellor SVYASA University) felicitated The Dhananjayans. K.S.Raghunathan (HMV Raghu), a highly versatile musician, composer and recording engineer was also honoured on this occasion.
Bharatakalanjali artistes presented "Nritya-tarangini". Sri.BSS Rao the Founder of SLAF is the dynamic force behind this organisation which has been doing yeoman service to our ART AND CULTURE .
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Shanta & Dhananjayan were given a civic reception at Payyanur on 16th Feb 2009 by the Muncipality and people of the township. Payyanur bazaar wore a festive look with ceremonial instruments (Panchavaadyam), a huge procession leading the Dhananjayans to the Gandhi Park. Local MLA, MP, Muncipal Chairman and several other important personalities were present to felicitate the Padha Bhushan awardees. Dhananjayan is the first Padma awardee in Kannur district and the citizens shared their pride and joy with the couple.

On the previous day (15th), relatives around the village gathered and gave a rousing reception at Dhananjayan's father's house (Athayil veedu) exclusively shared by the family members.
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The Dhananajayans were the chief guests for the concluding day of the Flower show festival, where they were felicitated . Dhananjayan gave the valedictory address to a large gathering of people from various parts of Kannur district.
The Dhananjayans dedicate their Padma award to their alma-mater
- Interview by Lalitha Venkat featured in narthaki.com

The Dancing Duo recently honoured with Padma Bhushan were at Chittur on 8 Feb, 2009. On a modest scale, they were cordially and affectionately felicitated at Cherubala Nalukettu by the proud family members and later at a public function at Chittur Tattamangalam Municipality celebrating their Centenary this year. Kerala Assembly Hon Speaker honored and felicitated the Dhananjayans.
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The Dhananjayans' colleagues share the honour (Padma Bhushan) with pride.

From left to right: A. Janardanan, Ambika Buch, Shanta, Dhananjayan, C.K.Balagopalan, Kala Ramesh and Savitri Jagannatha Rao
These artistes, classmates of the Dhananjayans literally grew up in Kalakshetra. Kalakshetra has also grown with them. That period was the golden period of Kalakshetra when Rukminidevi did her best productions. All of them contributed much to the popularity of the Kalakshetra dance drama productions, especially the Ramayana series. The amazing comradeship between them continue to be an inspirational phenomena for the younger generation of artistes, both in and out side Kalakshetra.
Among the luminaries decorated by the Rashtrapathi (President) of Bhaarat (India) this year (2009) to coincide with 60th Republic day, are the Bharatanaatyam couple Shanta & Dhananjayan. The Dhananjayans will be decorated with the honor PADMA BHUSHAN in a special function at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Delhi in March.

Lavanya Raghuraman interviews Padma Bhushan awardees - the Dhananjayans
featured at http://www.alapana.org/VPDint.pdf
    It is with the utmost humility and great pride that we accept this National award of PADMABHUSHAN on the occasion of the 60th Republic day and we thank the President of India and all the people responsible for selecting us for this coveted honour.

    So far all awards and rewards came in search of us and this was also a bolt from the blue and we profusely thank our Government, especially the Home Ministry. It proves that the selection process do go by merit and credibility.

    Since the award was announced, we have received congratulatory notes and messages from numerous connoisseurs, well-wishers and admirers from around the world. We are really touched by their sincere appreciation, and the love and regards they have in us. We genuinely feel it is their goodwill that has kept us going all this while and thank every one of them from the bottom of our heart for their greetings on this joyous occasion.

    We share the joy with all our students, our admirers all over the globe and dedicate this honour to our alma mater, Kalakshetra. After Smt.Rukminidevi - the founder of Kalakshetra and our mentor in every sense of the term - we are the next ones from Kalakshetra to be honoured with this high National award. So Kalakshetra can be justifiably proud of our achievement in spreading the best traditions we inherited from this temple of art.

    We have always been convinced that we stand in the shadows of our Art (Kaladevi) and all the laurels and glory go to that divine profession that we practice namely Bharatanaatyam. While accepting this award, we are humbled by the greatness of this Art form and would like to offer it at the altar of our learning - Kalakshetra.
Mysore Sri Lalithakala Academy Foundation Trust (Center for performing arts) honour The Dhananjayans with the prestigious "Rukminidevi Memorial Award" on February 28, 2009.

In connection with the Republic day celebration - a Gandhiyan organisation and Tamizh Magazine "ANBU-PAALAM" (of Dr.Kalyanasundaram) honoured the Dhananjayan with the title of "LAKSHYA DAMPATHIGAL" ( Ideal couple) and gold medals.
The Padma Sarangapani Cultural Academy, Virugambakkam which has been conducting art festivals in the outskirts of Chennai is now a very well established and well known Sangeeta Sabha. It is a big boon to the north Madras rasikas. Sangeeta Kutcheri and Naatya performances have been attended by large connoisseurs of arts unlike the city Sabhas with empty chairs.

For the last eight years they have been honouring very senior and celebrated artistes with the "Padma Sadhana" award and purse. This year they chose the well known singer Smt. Seetha Narayanan and The Dhananjayans for the coveted award. Justice P.R. Gokulakrishnan gave away the awards and purse to these senior artistes. Sri. S. Varadan, who is the founder of Padma Sarangapani Matriculation chain of schools is the dynamic head of this cultural forum. The award function was conducted in a ceremonious and unique way with a spiritual atmosphere pervading the place on January 8, 2009.