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Bhaava Dhaara: An exploration of sanchari in Bharatanatyam
– Gauri Shanbhag

August 29, 2017

Bhaava Dhaara, a Bharatanatyam workshop by Usha Raghavan, director of Kalasagara UK, was held in Chinmaya Vidya Nagari, Oxford, on the weekend of 29 and 30 July 2017 for Chinmaya Mission UK. This was the second in the Bharatanatyam workshop series focusing on how to create visual poetry through dance.

Sanchaara means to travel, to navigate, to wander. Through this workshop, participants were taught how to explore, to elaborate on a theme or a phrase within a composition. There were 16 participants spanning different age groups. Although each participant belonged to different stages of life, they all had one thing in common; an insatiable thirst to master the skills of Bharatanatyam and a deep desire to enhance their physical and emotional expressions in this unique dance form. The workshop also had group discussions giving a lot of scope for interaction and analysis of the concepts of bhaava and its level of importance in dance. During the two days, as the students learnt melodious and heart touching compositions, they found themselves traverse through different emotions. Every participant invoked the creative energy of the dancer within, so as to immerse oneself in the bhaava and flow in the dhaara of devotion. 

Within such an intense schedule the participants also had ample opportunity to relax. Mealtimes had buzzing atmospheres filled with fun and laughter over exchange of interesting conversations across the dining table. Every meal was a sumptuous treat of carefully selected menu of sattvik, delicious food. During the free time, the participants had the choice to either spend time in the library or bask in the sunshine as they went for a stroll in the scenic fields of the venue.

On Sunday morning, the participants gathered to attend a session of yoga and meditation   wherein one could experience the sublime tranquility of peace and happiness, giving a perfect start to the second day of the workshop. The finale was marked by an impressive performance by all the participants, on the compositions learnt during the workshop. Enthralled with their experience, the participants are already looking forward to the next workshop; they loved the compositions and the way in which they were taught, how they were challenged and made to think in different ways.  The two days full of intense detailing of dance and expression opened the doors to flood gates of ideas, creativity, imagination which many times are not possible in a regular class.

The team from Chinmaya Mission UK came together to work tirelessly to ensure that every participant was made to feel at home and every individual’s needs were looked after.

Usha Raghavan’s love and passion for the art is reflected in her unique teaching style and her dedicated efforts in providing umpteen opportunities for all her students to breathe life into every poetic composition. She has not only taught us a classical art but through workshops like Bhaava Dhaara she has ignited our innate talent to express physically and emotionally and be in absolute communion with the lord residing in each and every one of our hearts.

Gauri Shanbhag is a sevak of Chinmaya Mission UK.