Shanta and VP Dhananjayan with Anil Srinivasan and Sikkil Gurucharan

Shanta Dhananjayan and VP Dhananjayan

Shanta Dhananjayan and VP Dhananjayan


Saturday November 8 at 8 pm
Shakespeare Theatre Sidney Harman Hall

Tickets are on sale now. Three day pass discounted tickets are available here: 30% discount if you buy tickets for all three events in the VIP and Prime Orchestra sections. Single event performance is available here: BUY TICKETS.

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.

Light on the Path
The theme is based on an ancient text that says:
For within you is the light of the world.
The only light that can be shed upon the path.
You will enter the light but you will never touch the flame.
Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm.

You can see a couple of previews of Light on the Path here: http://youtu.be/qts3mDarQIw and here http://youtu.be/7et9r3bwWJo.

Unlike other dance works, this piece does not talk about gods and goddesses in their perfect worlds. It is not conceived to showcase the brilliance of the performers. The work hopes to share something that goes beyond such tangible realities. The dance seeks to touch the essence that connects all humanity together – the young and old, the able and the differently-abled, the thinker and the thought. Every day, every moment is a celebration of life. The dancers and musicians ponder these eternal questions. How does one evoke the divine? Where indeed, is the divine? Can it be a child that has to be bribed with the promise of honeyed rice, jewels, kisses, stories and lullabies? Or is it a cold, heartless being who tosses you aside as if you were a plaything? Does one have to challenge the divine as an unfeeling, stone-deaf entity or does one recognize the true light of divinity that cannot be contained in any form or thought or word? Is it something one seeks outside or is it within oneself? If it is silent and perennial, can we not take refuge in this constant abiding force? Can we not rejoice at having arrived at the threshold, the sannidhi, from where all doubt, despair and darkness disappears. From where there is only eternal light – the light that leads the way. Choreographed by Satyajit

Dakshina will open the evening by showcasing two recent dances staged on the company by esteemed dancers Rama Vaidyanathan and Sheejith Krishna. Nithya Joseph, Sudha Radhakrishnan, Valli Shanmugalingam, and Medha Swaminathan will be performing as part of Dakshina’s ensemble. The company will be performing Mr. Krishna’s Panchakshara Stuthi with Nandi Chol and Ms Vaidyanathan’s Shivoham.

anil-srinivasan Anil Srinivasan is a classical musician and composer who has now come to be regarded as one of the frontrunners of his generation. He has collaborated extensively with artists ranging from Mandolin Srinivas to Sikkil Gurucharan, working as far afield as Korea, the UK, the Far East and Australia – experimenting, crafting and creating new vocabularies in music. Anil holds the Sangeet Natak Akademi Yuva Puraskar for Creative and Experimental Music, the first to be awarded in this category since the award was instituted.

For all his accomplishments in music, his educational background could not have been more different. With an M.Phil from Columbia Business School and an MBA from the University of Southern California, Anil is also an entrepreneur, having created a mission to take music to primary schools using innovative methodologies and applications. He founded Rhapsody, a music education company which currently reaches out to over 3000 children in the city of Chennai. Anil is a regular speaker at conferences, seminars and conclaves on music, education and entrepreneurship.

AD-Sikkil_Photo2SmallSikkil Gurucharan is a leading musician and a youth ambassador for Carnatic music in India today. A prime time artiste during the Chennai music season and a recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar award and Isai Peroli among many. Gurucharan has not only made a mark in the traditional concert paddhati style but also worked to broaden audience appeal by creating collaborative projects with world renowned musicians while retaining the spirit of the art form. The album “Miles from India”, a collaborative effort, was nominated for the Best Contemporary Jazz Album at the 51st Grammy Awards. The magazine India Today featured him among 35 Game Changers under the age of 35 in India. For the Washington DC performances he will be collaborating with Anita Ratnam and the esteemed dancer couple Shanta and VP Dhananjayan. He is based in Chennai India, but tours extensively around the world promoting the arts and serving as a cultural ambassador.

Tickets are on sale now. Three day pass discounted tickets are available here: 30% discount if you buy tickets for all three events in the VIP and Prime Orchestra sections. Single event performance is available here: BUY TICKETS.