Shanta & VP Dhananjayan

Dakshina is proud to welcome Shanta and VP Dhananjayan to DC again.

Saturday September 28, 2013
8 pm performance
Shakespeare Theatre, Sidney Harman Hall
610 F St NW Washington, DC 20004
Buy Tickets Here

Shanta Dhananjayan and VP Dhananjayan

Shanta Dhananjayan and VP Dhananjayan

Shanta and VP Dhananjayan are pioneers in the dance world and have created their own distinct style of Bharata Natyam rooted in tradition known for its range and depth. They have performed together for over 50 years and trained hundreds of other artistes through their dance academy “Bharata Kalanjali” in Chennai. Their legendary accomplishments and service were recognized with the Padma Bhushan award by the President of India in March 0f 2009.

The Washington Post described their past performance in DC as follows: “What a huge difference between a good dancer and a true artist. And how patently clear and exhilarating that was when guest Bharatanatyam artist Shanta Dhananjayan took the stage Saturday at the Lincoln Theatre for the fifth annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts.

She is lit from within, downright penurious when it comes to economy of movement, and an actress of great nuance. She tosses off complex rhythmic passages with ease. Like a great musician, she conceives of each and every phrase (in her case, movement, music and story) in terms of what has led up to it and where it is going. Seeing her perform is revelatory, like experiencing a jumble of words suddenly transform into crystal-clear sentences.”

The Hindu has described VP Dhananjayan as “mesmerizing…turning simple compositions into masterpieces.” VP Dhananjayan has also been the subject of the recently published book Master of Arts: A Life in Dance by Tulsi Badrinath. The book chronicles the challenges he faced as a male dancer breaking into the traditionally female-dominated world of Bharata Natyam. A true pioneer, VP Dhananjayan carved the path for future generations of men to perform Bharata Natyam and remains a master teacher and innovator within the form.

Dakshina will open the evening with the company premiere of “Tulsi: A Life in Balance.” Drawing on the myths surrounding the various incarnations of the holy basil plant of Tulsi as queen and goddess, the work explores the complex character of Tulsi through the many tales that bring her to life in Indian mythology. This work continues artistic director Daniel Phoenix Singh’s development of a signature style that brings together Modern Dance and Bharata Natyam as a syncretic whole on stage. While the work was conceived and began taking shape over 18 months ago, the recent spate of gender violence have made the creation of this work poignant and symbolic for Singh.