Anecdote from Atlanta
by V P Dhananjayan, Chennai
We had a casual holiday visit to Atlanta on our way to Yogaville. On our arrival, our old students from Bharatakalanjali, Krishna, Subadra and Uma, said they had arranged a small reception the next day on July 1st. This was without our permission, but we did not want to disappoint them.
The so-called small reception turned out to be a big gathering of nearly 300 people in a shopping center hall. Surprisingly, the crowd was expecting us to do a lecture cum demonstration. No preparations.
The local Bharatanaatyam teachers had brought their students who danced in our honor. They were very happy and enthusiastic in showing us their students' performance.
Following that, the crowd was expecting us to dance, and we did not want to disappoint them. Shanta sang and I danced “Varugalaamo Ayya” and a small Nritta piece. After the performance a little boy of 10 walked up to me and announced innocently to the astonishment of every one standing around, “Can I say something? You are the best Bharatanaatyam dancer I have ever seen. If I can dance like you I also want to learn Bharatanaatyam.” I was taken aback, as if a million-dollar prize had been awarded to me. I told him to write and give me his comment.
In a small piece of paper collected from the floor, he wrote thus:
“Dear Mr.Dhananjayan, I loved your performance. It was great. Out of all the people I have seen dance, you're the best”. Below that were his address details. Unfortunately he did not write his name. I cherish the little piece of paper the little boy gave me, like a big International Award citation.
Besides performing, V P Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan teach Bharatanatyam at their Chennai based school Bharata Kalanjali. Their students are scattered across the globe.