of Dhananjayans Lec-Dem On The art of living with a living Art held
at Hindu Temple, Canton, MI on June 27,2004
Under the auspices
of Nrityollaasa, Center for performing arts in Michigan the Dhananjayans
gave an elucidating lecture demonstration on the technique of Bharatanaatyam.
The founder and Director of Nrityollasa Roopa Shyamasundara, welcoming
the audience said the Dhananjayans are the finest example for "the art
of living with a living art" both in profession and in life, making it
complimentary to each other. It was indeed a great revelation to the large
crowd who attended the session, that the couple have been living with this
performing art almost 55 years, and made the art a way of living.
In his opening
remarks he said Bharatanaatyam is a living art tracing it's antiquity to
thousands of years back and how it withstood the test of time. This art
has grown beyond time and space and its richness cannot be matched with
any mere physical technique being presented as modern or contemporary.
Dhananjayan's explicit demonstration and explanation convinced the audience
that in the name of modernity we are tracing back to our primitive physical
activities both in body movements and attires. Bharatanaatyam is
the most civilized and sophisticated performing art with vast scope for
innovations according to time and situations. He very liberally quoted
from the Naatyasaastra, the freedom of expression within the discipline
of a fathomless technique developed by our sages and further contributions
from great Gurus of each generation.
question from the audience for abstract expressions without emotions, instant
demonstration of the body language through which he communicated the ideas,
drew instantaneous applause. Further he asked the camp participants to
come out with their own gestures for abstract objects and proved to the
audience the periodical innovations in the technique contributed by various
artists were assimilated into the main stream. He said there is nothing
that cannot be communicated by the deep rooted technique in the various
performing art forms of Bharata and changes have taken place keeping the
aesthetic beauty and Indian ethos intact.
He made the
uninitiated members of the audience to feel one with the art and how easy
it is to understand and appreciate classical Dance forms. Joining the discussion,
Shanta Dhananjayan answered some of the parents' questions and said learning
art gives a child a sense of cultural affinity and mental discipline, which
will reflect in any profession he or she chooses. She further added
that, at least they would be better human beings.
and demonstrating the points, Dhananjayan said Nritta - the pure abstract
dance of rhythm, cleanse the body, Nritya – the expression of communication
educate the mind, and Naatya – the spiritual enlightenment through enacting
stories of moral values, and demonstrated these aspects with the
help of some of the participants in the Naatya adhyayana camp organized
Climax of the
evening lecture demonstration brought down the house when a little 5 year
old girl walked up to the dais and narrated the story of a deer enacted
by Dhananjayan in the classical idiom. The communication was instantaneous
with the technique employed in the classical dance and this proved beyond
any doubt that Bharatanaatyam is so very easy to understand even
to a little child and can elevate one to a higher plane of spirituality.
If properly performed by the artiste it can touch the heart.
course of the lec-dem, Dhananjayan mentioned that, if each family had invited
and brought at least one American neighbor or friend for this lecture demonstration,
the community could have justified their contribution of popularizing the
value and richness of Indian art and culture and not confining it to themselves.
(Food for thought)
In the concluding
remarks Prof. Subramaniam, a visiting grand old man from India, said any
classical art discipline (music or dance) is good for growing children
to sharpen their intelligence and increase power of concentration.
The best medicine for tension or stress release is to listen to classical
music or to watch Bharatanaatyam, which provide both listening and visual
pleasure. He said people here wasted a lot of money on stress release
medicines and artificial exercises, instead they can get rich rewards from
classical music and dance for less spending. He congratulated Roopa
Shyamsundar and thanked her for the community service she is doing by organizing
such events and also imparting training in Bharatanaatyam to young children
in this area.
a well known Bharatanaatyam artiste and pioneer in the US, felicitated
the Dhananjayans and said they have been great inspirations to very many
artistes like her.
from Shyam Mayasandra
Hills, MI 48309