Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda who attained samaadhi last year was a
true connoisseur of classical art and his contribution to the promotion
of true Indian art and culture in North America cannot go unsung. Apart
from reforming people through his integral Yoga institutes all around the
globe, he had taken great interest in promoting Indian classical arts,
especially Bharatanaatyam and Carnatic music. As part of his great mission
of service to humanity, he established the Fine arts society in the Yogaville
Satchidananda Ashram. And entrusted the divine work to his ardent
devotee Rukmini Rasiah and her dedicated daughter Padmarani Rasiah, an
accomplished Bharatanaatyam artiste.
The success story
of the annual event of this unique Gurukulam camps owes a great deal to
the steering person Rukmini Rasiah (Amma Rasiah as every one address her)
– an 85 year old lady of a divine caliber. Every aspect of the camp
and welfare of the participants are meticulously planned and executed,
with no complaints whatsoever from the parents or visitors. With
a very comfortable dormitory accommodation, well balanced nutritious vegetarian
diet (cooked and affectionately served by Valli Gopal who also teaches
Music, Raji Wallooppillai, Sundaram supported by other dedicated Ashramites),
excellent health care facilities, this unique residential camp serves as
beacon light to all such organizations. Apart from all these physical facilities,
the beautiful and clean environment adds to the charm of the learning atmosphere.
This is not an exaggeration, considering the fact that the camps have been
conducted successfully, continuously for the past fifteen years, the same
students wanting to come back, additionally bringing new enrolments year
after year. In the last five years the camps had to be extended to
accommodate the teachers and advanced Bharatanaatyam dancers who wanted
to learn under the Dhananjayans.
The Dhananjayans of Bharatakalanjali, Chennai to conduct a real traditional
Gurukulam training camp in 1988 and it became a trendsetter in the US to
enhance the standard of teaching and training in Indian classical dance
and music. Fifteen years of successful summer camps is certainly
an epoch making venture where international community of students and teachers
gained discipline, devotion and dedication - the three 'D' formula - enunciated
by Swamiji to obtain a spiritual dimension to the dance.
This year the
first camp started on 5th July and there were almost 30 inmates including
beginners to advanced level of students. The classes were classified according
to each individual standard and need for solid foundation was insisted
upon, irrespective of the students' style of Bharatanaatyam training. The
Dhananjayans always hammered on the minds of students that there are only
two styles of Bharatanaatyam namely 'good and bad’ dancing. They
grilled into the young minds that quality should not be sacrificed for
the sake of quantity. On the final day presentation, Dhananjayan addressed
the parents and the large local community assembled in "Ananda Kala
Mandir" hall and emphasized the need for these children to devote more
hours of practice and seriously pursue the learning with proper understanding
of the nuances of language, theory and Indian cultural ethos.
She told the students
not to fall prey to modern stuff in the name of innovations or creativity,
but practice the spiritual in art and elevate the mind through spiritual
entertainment. Only through such kind of art can we bring peace to the
world. General Jack Kidd awarded the course certificates to the participants.
over the function Swamiji's great devotee Amma Kidd (wife of General Jack
Kidd) gave an enlightening speech saying that true classical art elevates
the mind and anything that touches your heart can only be called an art.
She said having seen Padmarani performing Bharatanaatyam for several years
now, no other dance touches her heart as much as the powerful communication
of the art of Bharatanaatyam. She also spoke of how she fell in love with
Bharatanaatyam after watching the Dhananjayans dance in the Charlottesville
University in the year 1987.
Each of them had
their experiences to share with others and their tears and chocking voice
of praises showered on the Dhananjayans was really testimony to the ever
lasting values in life they imbibed from the Yogaville Gurukulam.
parents and the large crowd could not believe their eyes when the children
presented in an informal way, what they learned in the three weeks camp,
and the standing ovation they received was the testimony to the training
they received from the Dhananjayans and Padmarani Rasiah.
camp started on 27th July and concluded on 9th August. There were
only eleven participants including four teachers from different parts of
from Gibraltar, who is an artist (painter) in her own rights gave away
the course certificates. She delivered an inspired speech for the
benefit of the camp participants and said how art made her life fruitful
and satisfying. Whether one makes it a profession or mission in life, classical
arts enhance the beauty of human life. Her eloquent speech touched the
hearts of all gathered for the final day presentation on 9th August.
The items presented were awesome (as the Americans say it) and the participants
themselves choreographed a couple of items, as part of their learning exercise
in the Gurukulam.
camp dates have been announced. First camp for juniors and seniors from
July 4 to 25 and Advanced course from July 26 to August 9. Since there
are requests from teachers, there may be a third session from 8th to 15th
August exclusively for them. Interested Bharatanaatyam teachers and performers
can contact Padmarani Rasiah Canto at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– 969 - 3210
Ashram, Yogaville, Buckingham, VA. 23921