Festival of Indian Dance & Art
Shanta & VP Dhananjayan
Sep 28 2013

Shanta & VP Dhananjayan

In the Sidney Harman Hall


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.