February 2018

The prestigious KALIDAS SAMMAN bestowed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh honours artistes annually for their exemplary contribution to the performing arts. This year the dance awards were given to Lakshmi Viswanathan for Bharatanatyam, Darshana Jhaveri for Manipuri, Pt Jitendra Maharaj for Kathak, Radha and Raja Reddy for Kuchipudi on February 20, 2018 at the Khajuraho Dance Festival celebrations.

VIDHYA TAPASVI title by Tapas Cultural Foundation for 2018 was awarded to ghatam exponent and music composer Dr. 'Ghatam' Karthick and Bharatanatyam exponent Indira Kadambi for their dedicated service towards bhakthi oriented classical Fine Arts, in a ceremony held at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai, on 18th February 2018.

The Mayura Natyanjali organisation (Mayiladuthurai) honoured Guru VP Dhananjayan with the title MAYURA NRITYA SAAGARAM on Feb 10, 2018.

On Feb 10, 2018, Dr Sunil Kothari received the ANJALI MERH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for his outstanding contribution to dance from Rajmata Shubhangini Devi Gaekwad, Chancellor of MS University, Baroda. Dr Kothari earned his Ph.D in Dance from MS University in 1977.

The GURU GANGADHAR PRADHAN SMRUTI SAMMAN 2018 was presented to Guru Dhaneswar Swain, eminent Odissi mardal exponent and Bhagirathi Das, renowned Odissi Basta Karigara for their valuable contribution to Odissi at the 14th Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav on Feb 9, 2018. On Feb 11, RUCHI BUDDHA SAMMAN was presented to Dr. Sonal Mansingh.

Kalamshu Cultural Trust concluded its 3 month long Jhenkar Utsava on 4th Feb 2018, by awarding SS MADY MEMORIAL ‘KALAMSHU ART AWARD’ to Viralimalai R Muthukannammal, 88 year old Sadhir artist. She is a last surviving dancer of 32 membered Viralimalai Sadhir Mela. Unlike in Bharatanatyam, the Sadhir artist sings along with dancing. Muthukannammal is noted for a whole night recital of Viralimalai Kuravanji, modi and Viralimalai nottuswara (different from Dikshitar’s nottuswara).

January 2018

Shanta Dhananjayan & V.P.Dhananjayan received the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD from Rotary Club-Mitra  on 30th January 2018. 

Bharatanatyam dancer and Queer Studies scholar, Aniruddhan Vasudevan turned down the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award that he won for his English translation of the controversial Perumal Murugan Tamil novel MATHORUBAGHAM - ONE PART WOMAN. A state wide violence erupted over the novel from some groups claiming that it had insulted the women of their clan. Vasudevan, a student of the University of Texas in Austin, declined the honour saying “an award should not be controversial.”

The Dhananjayans received the Kerala goverment's NISHAGANDHI PURASKAR on 20th January 2018 at Thiruvananthapuram. It includes a citation, Bharatamuni plaque and a cash prize of Rs.1.5 lakhs.

Dr. Sunil Kothari, Dr. Anita Ratnam, Geeta Chandran, Ratikant Mohapatra, Bala Kondala Rao, Jitendra Maharaj, Ramachandran Unnithan, Gopal Prasad Dubey, Avinash Pasricha, Leela Sayi, Lakshmi Mangatayaru

General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi conferred the following awards in the field of dance on January 17, 2018 at New Delhi.
- SANGEET NATAK AKADEMI FELLOW (Akademi Ratna): Dr. Sunil Kothari
- AKADEMI AWARD (Akademi Puraskar) for 2016: Dr. Anita Ratnam (contemporary dance), Geeta Chandran (BN), Ratikant Mohapatra (Odissi), Jitendra Maharaj (Kathak), AB Bala Kondala Rao (Kuchipudi), Kalamandalam Ramachandran Unnithan (Kathakali), Maisnam Kaminikumar Singh (Manipuri), Haricharan Bhuyan Borbayan (Sattriya), Pt Gopal Prasad Dubey (Chhau).
Annabattula Lakshmi Mangatayaru & Leela Sayi (joint award, traditional theatre Kalavantulu), Prabhitangsu Das & Dattatreya Aralikatte (puppetry) and Avinash Pasricha for overall contribution 
- USTAD BISMILLAH KHAN YUVA PURASKAR: Jyotsna Jagannathan (BN), Sanjukta Sinha (Kathak), Sanjenbam Karuna Devi (Manipuri), Mruthyunjaya Keshava Prasad (Kuchipudi), Shashwati Garai Ghosh (Odissi), Usharani Baishya (Sattriya), Kalamandalam Rachita Devi (Mohiniattam), KJ Krishnendu (Koodiyattam)
Gurumayum Biseshwor Sharma (Thang-ta), Ravi Kumar (traditional theater Oggukatha, Telangana), P Thilagavathi (traditional theater, Kattaikoothu, Tamilnadu), Dushyant Kumar Dwivedi (Pandavani, Chattisgarh), S. Gopi & Rajeev Pulavar (puppetry)
The honor of Akademi Fellow carries a purse of Rs. 3 lakhs, Akademi Award carries a purse of Rs. 1 lakh, with tamrapatra and angavastram. The Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar carries a purse of Rs.25,000.
Watch the ceremony

Guru Prof. C V Chandrasekar from Chennai and Dr. Sunil Kothari from New Delhi were felicitated with DRISHTI PURASKAR for their contributions to the field of dance during the 13th Drishti National Dance Festival at Chowdiah Memorial Hall on January 13, 2018, Bangalore.

Film 'Nilima' featuring Mohiniattam dancer Ayswaria Wariar has won a SPECIAL JURY AWARD at Eastern Global Film Awards on 10th January 2018 at Kochi, Kerala.

Divya Devaguptapu, Bharatakalanjali alumni and a prime disciple of The Dhananjayans was adjudged the outstanding dancer in the Music Academy Mid Year Dance Festival 2017. She was awarded BEST BHARATANATYAM ARTISTE of the year 2017 on the inaugural day of the Academy’s Natya festival on 3rd January 2018.

Prof S. Rajeswari, retired Principal of Tamilnadu Govt Music College, was awarded the title  of ISAI SUDAROLI  on 7th January 2018 by Sahana Fine Arts, Chennai. The chief guests Dhananjayans paid high tributes to Rajeswari as an all rounder - concert singer, excellent teacher, musicologist, composer and over and above, that she could handle with aplomb singing and conducting Bharatanatyam performances.  In the golden days of Kumari Kamala, connoisseurs used to throng to listen to her music accompanying Kamala's naatyam.

On 6 January 2018, at the gala international NRI Summit in Manama, Bahrain, dancer Geeta Chandran was among the galaxy of Indian Women Achievers who were honoured with the international INDIAN WOMEN ACHIEVERS SAMMAN.The award was bestowed on her by Minister Alfonse Joseph Kannanthanam, India’s Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism.

On 6th January 2018, Vyjayanthi Kashi received the NATYANJALI AWARD from the legendary Guru Ullal Mohan Kumar at Suratkal, Karnataka.

On Jan 6, 2018 D. Keshava received the SAMBRAHMA PURASKAR at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore.

The Music Academy, Chennai, honored Bharatanatyam exponent Lakshmi Vishwanathan with NRITHYA KALANIDHI (previously Natya Kalacharya) on Jan 3, 2018.

K.Sarveshan (from South Africa), a disciple of the Dhananjayans, got the BEST DANCER AWARD for his performance at the 29th SPIRIT OF YOUTH festival of Madras Music Academy in August 2017. S Bhagyalakshmi got the award for second best dancer. DANCE GURU AWARD (for Guru of Best Dancer in Spirit of Youth) went to Guru VP Dhananjayan. The awards were given on 3rd January 2018 during Music Academy’s annual Natya festival.

Dr.Sunil Kothari received the Karur Natyanjali Trust Award on January 2, 2018 at Karur, Tamilnadu.

On January 2, 2018 Bala Devi Chandrashekar received the title of  THALAIKOLLI from Rajah S Babaji Rajah Bhonsle, senior prince of Tanjore Hereditary Trust, Thanjavur Palace Devasthanam for her production ‘Brihadeeswara - form to formless.’and contribution to dance. According to historians in Thanjavur, this was the title given by Chola king to dancer Madhavi.

The Endowment Awards of Brahma Gana Sabha were given to Roja Kannan (Bharatanatyam guru), Sumitra Subramanian (young Bharatanatyam artiste) and Dr. S Rajeshwari (artiste in Bharatanatyam orchestra) on January 1, 2018 at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, Chennai.

Mayuri Upadhya has won the BROADWAY WORLD INDIA AWARDS 2017 for Best Original Choreography for Feroz Khan’s stage rendition of Mughal-e-Azam.

Sapphire Creations Dance Company’s co-director Paramita Saha was chosen as a Global Fellow of the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), New York and was invited to attend the Global Conference in New York in January.

Natya student Rekha Iyer, disciple of Hema Rajagopalan, received an Honorable Mention, the second highest distinction, from the National YoungArts Foundation. The winners were selected from a competitive pool of over 10,000 applicants representing artists from across forty-seven states. Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, the 2018 winners represent the top 10 percent of applications. YoungArts winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for emerging artists in the U.S., offering professional and artistic development opportunities over the course of their careers.

They will receive cash prizes of up to $10,000; opportunities to share their work with the public at renowned institutions such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Sotheby's in New York, and New World Center in Miami. They will also gain access to mentors, including Academy Award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer Doug Blush; award-winning photographer Corinne May Botz; three-time New York Dance and Performance awardee Nora Chipaumire; Grammy-award winning vocalist and songwriter Lisa Fischer, and best-selling authors Michael Grunwald and Kristen Simmons, among others.

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