Memories of Bharata Kalanjali, Anna & Akka

Uma Pulendran

I started at Bharatakalanjali in July 1985 just before Akka and Master left for their multi city US tour. Since then, I have learnt with them for over a decade.

The experience of learning at Bharatakalanjali is very special and memorable. You are not only considered as a student but also a ‘Developing Artiste’.Imagination and creativity are highly encouraged. You are encouraged to interpret the song on your own, and express your own abhinaya based on what you feel in your heart and body without deviating from the traditions. The other important aspect that is instilled in us is that dance is just not a physical activity of having perfect anga-suddam, which is a basic requirement of dance, but more a spiritual odyssey where you find the beauty within you.

One of my most memorable experiences is that during my Arangetram my parents were not there with me, and it was Master and Akka who were there for me, like my parents and took care of every thing.

Some of my most favorite items of Bharatakalanjali are, the bakti enduring ‘Devi niye thunai’ - a keertanam, the scintillating ‘Adinaye kanna’ - also a keertanam and the famous and grand ‘Ninne nere nambinanura’ – a varnam/nrityopaharam. There are so many other items that are also my favorites. But the list is too long to mention here.