Sponsored by Indian Council of Cultural Relations with the helpful organisation of Natyanjali Australia this year Sydney siders are blessed to be in the presence of dance master and Gurus the Dhananjayans. Arriving in Australia a few weeks ago they embarked on a tour of their production Bhakti Margam with four other dancers and an ensemble of musicians spreading the word and sharing their expertise with many dance schools in Melbourne, Perth and now in Sydney.
This week they have been holding workshops for students in their middle years of learning helping them hone in and chisel their talent and technique further. Held at the Dundas Community Centre through the evenings, the writer had the opportunity to meet and see them in action. Their dedication mingled with a straightforward approach is appealing and certainly gaining the attention of the first generation australian children who have taken to learning this artform.
In an interview with Mr Dhananjayan he said that Bharatham represents all artforms that arise from Bhaarath, India and thus the name itself speaks of the depth and the ancient nature of this artform. On the burning topic of Bhava, Natya expressive story telling, Guru Dhananjayan demonstrated that there are the eight main bhavas well known and common to all humans universally however there are also what is called Sanchari Bhavas. Bhavas that represent the dance of the blossoming flower in one particular Hastha mudra for example. As he held his hands together and opened it his hand was a flower, as each finger moved a petal of the flower opened, his eyes danced the movement in unison with his hands, his actions showed also the fragrance of the flower spreading when it is fully in bloom.
He then elaborated the role of Sanchari Bhavas in story telling and for this he took the ever green example of “Venugopala, the Boy stealing Butter”. As Venugopala looked around to ensure no one was watching and stealthily walked up to the butter pot, on spotting it he jumps up and gets it. Is delighted to smell the butter and his mouth waters. The final revelation comes when he drops his hands into the pot to scoop out a massive handful of butter to slurp it all up, I felt extraordinarily hungry. Not hungry for butter but to dance.
The Story Continues at Dance…