Shoba's Gurus

SRI. V.P.DHANANJAYAN  & SMT. SHANTA DHANANJAYAN (THE DOYENS OF BHARATANAATYAM)- the inseparable Bharatanaatyam couple of  India

Sri V P Dhananjayan and wife Shanta Dhananjayan, popularly known as the Dhananjayans have become a legendary dancing couple of India in their own life time. Having established their own academy Bharata Kalanjali, the two disciples of the legendary Rukmini Devi of Kalakshetra, have become international celebrities.

Bharata Kalanjali, since its founding in 1968, has trained a number of students who have established themselves in different parts of the world.

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).