Dance School Information

Sri. V.P.Dhananjayan, son of A.Rama Poduval and Madhavi Amma was born in Payyanur (Kerala) in the year 1939. A child poet in Malayalam, he was brought to Smt. Rukmini Devi's Kalakshetra, Chennai at the age of 13 in the year 1953 by the famed Guru T.K. Chandu Panikkar. He received diploma and post graduate diploma in Kathakali and Bharatanaatyam with distinction and served the alma mater (Kalakshetra) as one of the most prominent performing artists and teacher till 1968. Dhananjayan was the leading dancer in the Kalakshetra dance drama productions and became synonymous with the character Sri Rama in the Ramayana series of Kalakshetra.

Founded Bharatakalanjali in the year 1968 along with his wife Shanta Dhananjayan also an alumni of Kalakshetra. Bharatakalanjali under the able stewardship of Dhananjayan and Shanta has become one of the well known institutions in Tamizhnaadu for Bharatanaatyam. They created several prestigious and internationally acclaimed dance productions. "The Cultural panorama of Tamizhnaadu" directed and produced for the Government of Tamizhnaadu won him special recognition from the Chief Minister Thiru. M.G. Ramachandran. They also received several other State and public recognitions including Kalaimamani, Central Sangit Natak Academi, Kerala State Sangeeta Nataka Academy's Fellowship, Nrityachoodamani (Sri Krishna Gana Sabha) and several prestigious National and International awards, titles and recognitions. MA.Chidambaram Chettiyar (MAC Charities) award of Rs.50,000/-, silver casket and citation (2002), the "Swati Ratna" puraskaar for Madras Malayalee club, for their contribution to the propagation of Maharaja Swathi Tirunal's compositions through Bharatanaatyam (April 2004).

Through Bharatakalanjali, Dhananjayans have trained several talented poor children, who are successfully purusing their carrier in Bharatanaatyam. Dhananjayan's contributions to the development and propagation of Indian art and culture is very significant.

Dhananjayans have traveled abroad widely and spread the message of Indian art and culture throughout the world and brought great pride to Bhaarat through their Bharatanaatyam performances, lecture demonstrations, gurukulam type of training in Bharatanaatyam and Carnatic music to people of different nationalities.

The recently awarded 'Naatya' award from an International organization in the US is a testimony to this couple's contribution to the promotion of Bhaarateeya Samskriti and Art throughout the world.

The Madras Music Academy honoured Dhananjayan with the prestigious award and title "SANGEETA KALA ACHARYA" (2005).

C.P.Shanta Dhananjayan, wife of Sri. V.P.Dhananjayan and daughter of Sri. A. Raghava Menon and C.P.Kalliani Amma was born in Chittur, Palghat on 12th August 1943. She joined Kalakshetra in the year 1952 . As a brilliant child prodigy, she won the praise of Smt. Rukmini Devi and received both diploma and post graduate diploma with distinction. She is equally qualified in Carnatic music. Shanta was the prima-Dona of Kalakshetra for almost 15 years, taking major roles in Rukmini Devi's dance drama productions. She became synonymous with Radha in Gita Govindam and Sita in Ramayana series.

Shanta married Sri. V.P.Dhananjayan in the year 1966. Ever since, she has been winning the hearts of connoisseurs with her immaculate perfection in the art she practiced. A perfect match both at home and stage, Shanta helped Dhananjayan to establish Bharatakalanjali, an institution par excellence.

Through Bharatakalanjali she has trained number of world renowned dancers and musicians. She has traveled around the world several times and contributed to the spread of Indian art and culture in it's pristine purity.

She has received innumerable National and International awards which include Kalaimamani, Nrityachoodamani, Central Sangit Natak Academi award.

M.A.Chidambram Charity Trust award of Rs.50000.00 cash award and silver casket with citation is a crowning honour this couple received in 2002.

The Dhananjayans are the senior most disciples of the legendary Smt. Rukmini Devi and celebrated Kalakshetra alumnae.

The Dhananjayans are well known as trendsetters in the field of Bharatanaatyam, bringing fresh wave of choreographic innovations and creativity within the traditional ambit. All the present day Bharatanaatyam dancers, have taken inspiration from new directions they have incorporated, both in solo and group productions.

The Dhananjayans' Bharatakalanjali founded in 1968 is an eloquent testimony to the Bhaarateeya Samskriti and the best Gurukula system of training combined with modern approach. This institution serves as a beacon light to many institutions in the country, following the best of Kalakshetra traditions and Rukmini Devi's ideals.

The Dhananjayans are pioneers in spreading the message of Bhaarateeya Samskriti through their art of Bharatanaatyam throughout the world, for which they have been recognized by the Indian cultural organizations abroad. The first International Naatya Award instituted by the American Association of Indian Dancers (AAID) was awarded to The Dhananjayans in recognition of their service in brining cultural integrity and good relationship between India and the US.

The Dhananjayans are pioneers in undertaking collaborations with Western choreographers and ballet dancers, while keeping the identity of Bharatanaatyam and Kathakali and other dance forms. As contemporary and modern choreographers par excellence, they have been appreciated for their uncompromising quality of Indianness in their presentations never trying to please the westerners by adopting their technique. Instead they tried to instill and make them understand the value and greatness of our deep-rooted theatrical technique.

The Dhananjayans have the largest network of students operating in different parts of the globe and contributing yeomen service to the propagation of Indian performing arts, especially Bharatanaatyam and Kathakali.

The Dhananjayans always represented themselves as Bhaarateeya and true ambassadors of Indian culture, not only in their art but also in behavior, character, dress code, and other habits. They are living example of a true Bhaarateeya in practice and spirit. They have inspired not only their own disciples but all those who have come across or interacted with them. They are well known as "the ideal Indian couple -made for each other couple".

The Dhananjayans are the monumental example to quote " the artists who have come up to an international celebrity level through their own merit, without political or bureaucratic influence or media hike up.

The Dhananjayans are the most respected artists whose help and advice is sought after by other fellow artists. Without pride, prejudice or jealousy the couple extend their help with rare humility.

The Dhananjayans have been instrumental in uniting the artists and to develop a healthy interaction between dancers, musicians and connoisseurs. As the founder Secretary and later the President of ABHAI (Association of Bharatanatyam artists of India) Dhananjayan has brought in a camaraderie spirit among performing artists, Gurus and students.

The Dhananjayans always stand by the ideals of "what they can do for the nation and never asked what the national can do to them". Following this principle they have not gone for any government help or favour, while they contributed directly and indirectly to nation building.

The Dhananjayans are not only great artists but also great social activists. They are environmentalists, social reformers, supporters of various charitable organizations and educationalists, very active in taking good cultural education to rural areas, which resulted in establishing a center in a remote village in north Kerala called Bharateeya Saamskaarika Kalaa Rangam (Bhaaskara).

Without prejudice, we can easily say that no other classical dancers in this country have contributed as much as The Dhananjayans. This truth can be ascertained from their life history. As the saying goes "seeing is believing"- a visit to their Academy Bharatakalanjali, Chennai speak volumes of their yeomen selfless service to the Nation through their art of Bharatanaatyam. They always project their art and remain a shadow of their art as a true living example of a Bhaarata putra. (Children of the soil).