2004 - 2008
A response to the program of Bakthi Maargam at New Jersey on November 2, 2008
The Dhananjayans gave a soul stirring "Bhaktimaaragam" performance for a full complement of Rasikas at the Forum Theatre in Metuchen, New Jersey on 2nd November 08 and brought tears to the eyes of the audience who gave a five minutes standing ovation. The audience also pleaded with the Dhananjayans to return, calling this the “last” in the FIRST farewell tour! The Dhanajayans obliged by performing two more items requested by the connoisseurs of CMANA members - The Pregnant Deer and Varugalamo Ayya.


Kumbaya moments in a dance by the Dhananjayans
By Padmini Balagopal, Philedelphia USA
On November 2nd, 2008, renowned Indian Bharatha Natyam dancers V.P.Dhananjayan and his wife and colleague of over forty years, Shantha gave the audience a terpsichorean treat at the Forum Theater in Metuchen. In this day and age, when every new day witnesses the launchings of dancers and when there seems to be no dearth of fresh talent, what is it about this sextagenarian couple that ensures a full house of enthusiastic audiences? What is it about their dance that brings a connoisseur crowd who never fail to come and revel at the oft-repeated pieces? Dhananjayan himself prefaced an item as a piece he had danced over a thousand times? What secret key do they hold to the hearts of the lovers of fine arts?
Dhananjayan and Shantha bring with them an indescribable depth in each of their pieces that transports the viewer beyond visual delights to a spiritual tryst. If you say that unlike other forms of dance, Bharatha Natyam like Indian classical music (especially by the South Indian composers) was founded on the bedrock of spirituality and religion, you will not get an argument. But arguably, Dhananjayans reinforce one’s need to commune with the Spirit and we become willing conduits for an emotional roller-coaster ride, becoming thrilled when he portrays the magnificence of the Almighty or emoting with him when he cries as Nandanar, having been refused permission to enter the temple.
Of course, the ‘piece de resistance’ was Dhananjayan’s portrayal of a pregnant deer in the throes of labor pain on the one hand but facing a bloody end for her and her unborn fawn from a hungry tiger on the one side and an avid hunter on the other. He then carries the tense scene to a happy ending, portraying viable possibilities.
CMANA embellished their profile with the staging of these two dancers. Dhananjayan announced his retirement and if this is going to be true, CMANA would have had the honor of staging this memorable swan song but if audiences like the current one, dissuade them from retiring, CMANA would then have to go on record as having brought about a change of mind for our further enjoyment.


A response to the final program of Bakthi Maargam in the Dhananjayans' fall tour of North America
Naatyaachaarya V.P. & Shanta Dhananjayan along with senior disciple Padmarani Rasiah gave a soul stirring "Bhakti Maaragam" performance for a full compliment of Rasikas in the Bristol theatre of New Jersey on 2nd November 08 and brought tears in the audience who gave a five minutes standing ovation, exclaiming the Dhananjayans to return and calling this the last in the FIRST farewell tour. The Dhananjayans obliged by performing two more items requested by the connoisseurs of CMANA members. (The Pregnant deer and Varugalamo ayya).


Response from Mr.C. M. Venkatachalam to the BHAKTI-MAARGAM show at San Diego, CA
I really enjoyed guru Dhananjayans' dance presentation. The scene with Dasaratha and Kaikeyi was emotionally so gripping, that I felt Dasaratha was okay when Sri Dhanajayan stood and took a bow at the end! For me, he was Dasaratha! Then I had difficult switching over to other stories. That scene still haunts me. When I read Valimiki, and go into bala and ayodhya kandam, I will undoubtedly think of Dhanajayans! Thank you for bringing the Dhananjayans.


Dhananjayan Felicitated on his 70 th Birth day at Austin, TX
By Dr.A.Nagarajan President, India Fine arts, Austin Tx USA

At a glittering function in Austin, Texas, the internationally renowned dancers V.P & Shantha Dhananjayan were felicitated on Saturday, October 11th at the Fine Arts auditorium of the Travis High School, Austin.

This is the 70th birthday year for V.P Dhananjayan and 60 years of dancing and 40th anniversary of their institution Bharathakalanjali in Chennai.

Dhananjayan presented a traditional Bharatnatyam Maargam featuring the best of their 50 years of choreographic excellence.. He was accompanied by Shantha Dhananjayan and his senior disciple Padmarani Rasiah Cantu, the director of Yogaville center for Bharathanatyam at Virginia. The program lasted for 150 minutes in stead of the advertised 90 minutes because of the enthusiastic response of the audience. They did seven pieces from their repertoire of choreography but the master pieces was Varugalaamo Ayya when he described how a low born Nandanar craves for worshipping Lord Nataraja , but he is not allowed into the temple precincts for him to get close vision of the Lord. He brought the audience to tears with his unique bhavam and facial expressions. Dasavatharam in Raagamilka and the Ennathavam Saidanai were also executed magnificently.

At the end of the performance Dr.A.Nagarajan, president of India Fine Arts which has been sponsoring and promoting performing artists from India in the Central Texas area conferred the title of "Nrithya Samrat" on V.P.Dhananjayan and "Nrithya Sagarm" on Shantha Dhananjayan. It was indeed a memorable evening for the Central Texans.

Photos of Dhananjayans' Farewell program - Oct 2008, IFA, USA

http://atximages.smugmug.com/gallery/6227626_u8k5z#393048430_kSVZK


Naadhabrahmam Musical Magazine and the Sabha of the same name organized a grand function to honour The Dhananjayans with a title of "NATANA-PRAKAASAM" (Luminary among dancers) and Gold insignia (Gold medal) on 30th August 08 at Madras Music Academy hall.

Academy President & The Hindu Publications' Managing Director Sri N.Murali presided and presented the award. In his Presidential address he said that the Dhananjayans are a role model not only as a Bharatanaatyam couple, but also a role model to lead a good happy life. Smt.Vyjanthimala Bali complimented them for their aesthetic and traditional approach and creative ability without deviating from the tradition.
R. Krishnaswamy, President of City Sabhas commented that Dhananjayan's free and frank opinions did not even spare his Sabha with which the couple has been associated for nearly 40 years. He said the couple's artistry and life is an inspiration to the younger generation.
Additional solicitor General of India, Sri. Mohan Parasaran expressed his surprise that this pride of the nation couple have not been recognized with a "Padma Award" yet.
Click on images for enlarged version

The Dhananjayan's senior most disciple Radhika Shurajit presented a short film on her Gurus titled "Kalaa-Saadhana" produced by Utsav Music, which was appreciated by one and all. (Copy of this DVD will be available for home viewing)

Nrutya Tarangini (choreographed by the Dhananjayans in 1986) based on the Kadanakutoohalam Tillana music of Dr. Balamuralikrishna - lyrics composed specially for the couple was the finale of this mega event organized by NAADHABHRAHMAM (musical magazine). Performed by senior disciples of the Dhananjayans.

Dhananjayan in his acceptance address appealed to all connoisseurs of classical music and Naatya to become subscribers of this educative, elevating and entertaining Magazine, a valuable addition to their library for posterity. Mr. R. krishnaswamy also praised the contents and quality of worthwhile articles on Music and Carnatic compositions by very eminent writers and scholars.
Photos


The Dhananjayans delved into their vast experience and sense of aesthetics to present an enthralling Bharatnatyam performance
Steps of expressions
By JNP
The Hindu, Friday Review, Thiruvananthapuram, Friday, Jun 06, 2008
http://www.hindu.com/fr/2008/06/06/stories/2008060650330300.htm



Besant nagar Vinayakar Satsang conducted their 5th Naatyotsvam featuring alumni of Bhartakalanjali and Kalakshetra from February 28 - March 9, 2008.
A review of those performances can be viewed in the web www.narthaki.com (online magazine).

You can view the reviews of the Bharatakalaanjali alumni here:
Excerpt from report featured in narthaki.com by Pratiba Raman


A lecture demonstration was held on 24th Feb organised by Divyanjali & Gana Mukundapria.

A glimpse into history…
Report by Prathibha Raman, a trainee in journalism and Bharatanaatyam student
Phone: 28474125 Ml: 9841591435 email:pratibaraman@gmail.com
The Dhananjayans' Bharatakalanjali presented a special morning program of classical and folk items, by talented young performers participating in the CREATIVE CONNECTIONS' 2007 International Young performers Tour of the Tri-States of the United States of America. (Art in Education - children's cultural delegation)
Guest of Honour: Mr. David T Hopper (US Consul General in Chennai)
Special Guest: Mrs.Susan Hopper
At: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore, from 10.30am to 12 noon
Reviews


The 19th Naatya Adhyayana Gurukulam summar camp at Yogaville Virginia, USA
A unique trend setting event in the US, attracting students from different parts of globe under the inspiring teachings of the Dhananjayans of Bharatakalanjali, Chennai concluded on 5th August 2007. Padmarani Canto very ably assisted in conducting this real Gurukulam, a "home away from home".

The junior camp commenced on 30th June and culminated on 21st July. There were 34 participants (maximum capacity) of which fifteen participants were new comers. Others have been attending the camp between 3 to 5 years continuously.

The second camp is usually open to senior performing artistes and teachers. Out of the 13 participants, 6 were full time Bharatanaatyam teachers. The second camp also culminated with a gala performance which attracted a large crowd from the Yogaville community and nearby towns. The participants' parents and friends also attended this event which lent a festive atmosphere in Satchidananda Ashram, otherwise very calm and quite with serene Yogic activities and retreats.

The Yogaville village always enthusiastically looks forward to this annual Naatya Gurukulam event. Next year (2008) is the twentieth (20th) year of this unique Gurukulam, completing 30 summer camps.

A great get together of Yogaville Fine Arts Society's alumni is being planned as part of the 20th year celebration. The first camp will commence on 28th June 08 and second two weeks camp from 20th July 08.

For details contact Smt. Rukmini Rasiah ( President FAS) @ 434 969 3210 (telefax) or email: FAS@yogaville.org


On June 10, 2007 master teachers - Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan were in Seattle. They visited the students of Bharatanatyam in 'From Within' school and shared their thoughts and experiences on a number of topics of interest to the assembled students and their parents.
On receiving related questions from the audience they recounted their student life in Kalakshetra and Shanta teacher's work in Malaysia, talked about the process of training and performances, challenges of doing their Jungle Book production, taught students the importance of self discipline and openness to corrections. They also consulted on specific exercises for dance posture remedies, watched the students dance for a little bit and ended the workshop with a bhajan presentation on Lord Rama.

Click on images for enlarged version
The audience had already been preparing to welcome the gurus and most of them knew of their accomplishments. But with the presentation, they knew at once that the conviction with which the gurus had spoken for 90 minutes, was a direct result of their life long experience in dance. The audience was moved by the dance of guru Dhananjayan and Shanta teacher's singing. In all, it was a great inspiration to see and hear the master teachers.
- Report by Subhashini Vijay Santhanam
Click here for more photos


The Living Art of Bharata: A talk by the Dhananjayans at Arpan
By Rajeswari Harikrishnan
featured in Ragavani, Ragamala's Journal of Indian Music and Dance

The Dhananjayans visited Arpan on 9th June 2007 for an interactive discussion with the students
www.ragavani.org/AR_Dhananjayans_070918.aspx

Photographs of the event: http://picasaweb.google.com/joycekpaul/AnukathanaDhananjayans


Dhananjayan felicitated the Natyaanjali festival committee and gave an inspiring speech on the meaning, significance and purpose of this festival. He said, "while the political parties try to fragment our Nation with unwanted issues like water, language etc, the performing artistes unite the hearts of the people and bring true national integration through art. Natyanjali festival is the finest example of congregation of people from Kannyakumari to Kashmeer."

Review
Chidambaram reverberates to rhythm of Natyanjali
Special Correspondent, The Hindu, Feb 18, 2007www.hinduonnet.com/2007/02/18/stories/2007021808420400.htm


Book Title: BEYOND PERFORMING: ART & CULTURE (Politico-Social Aspects)
Author: V P Dhananjayan, Bharatanaatyam exponent and Guru, founder president, Bharatakalanjali, Adyar, Chennai.

'Beyond performing: art & culture' contains various articles not only on art & culture matters, but also political and social aspects. An interesting attraction in the book is the cartoons on arts and social issues by late Sarathy. Dhananjayan's concern for the welfare of society and peaceful co-existence - both artistically and politically are very much evident and his forthright suggestions to Government and public agencies are thought provoking points.

An artist's perspective of social issues
By H. Ramakrishnan
The Hindu, Book Review, Feb 06, 2007
www.hinduonnet.com/br/2007/02/06/stories/2007020600481400.htm


The Dhananjayans performed in the special Veterans' festival series of the Madas Music Academy on 7th (Sunday) January 2007 at 10 am. They presented "Paddavali" based on Jayadeva's Gitagovindam.

Flavours of Gita Govind
By Anjana Rajan
The Hindu, Friday Review, Jan 19, 2007
www.hindu.com/fr/2007/01/19/stories/2007011902170900.htm



The Dhananjayans were honoured by the International Dance Alliance (IDA) on the occasion of their 20th anniversary celebrations. The US Council General Mr. David Hopper presented the award, while Mr. N.Ram Chief Editor, The Hindu presided. On 15th August, the Dhananjayans performed segments from their Dance drama Sanghamitra.

For more details, visit
"Vignettes from the veterans"
By Rupa Srikanth
www.hindu.com/fr/2006/08/18/stories/2006081802810600.htm

"Corporates could do more for promoting classical arts"
Special Correspondent
www.hinduonnet.com/2006/08/15/stories/2006081513670500.htm


Beauty in precision
By Rupa Srikanth
The Hindu, Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Music Season, Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006
www.hindu.com/ms/2006/01/10/stories/2006011000210600.htm


Aesthetic thematic interpretation
By Harish Bal
The Hindu, Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Entertainment Thiruvananthapuram, Friday, Jan 06, 2006
www.hindu.com/fr/2006/01/06/stories/2006010600520200.htm


Article –Interview featured in The Michigan State Newspaper, The Daily Oakland Press
Couple promote classical dance
Web-posted Jul 5, 2004
By NATALIE LOMBARDO
Of The Daily Oakland Press
www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/070504/loc_70558.shtml


a report of Dhananjayans Lec-Dem On The art of living with a living Art
held at Hindu Temple, Canton, MI on June 27,2004