Natya Sangraham at Thennangur
Annual Workshop for young Dance Teachers and senior dancers
The first Natya Sangraham of Natyarangam (Dance wing of the Narada Gana Sabha Trust) was organized as a three-day workshop for young Bharatanatyam artists from 16th to 18th June 2000, at the Temple Complex of Dakshina Haalaasyam at Thennangur, about 110 km away from Chennai. This was done, in pursuit of Natyarangam’s two-fold objectives of encouraging young dancers of proven merit and creating awareness in dance appreciation.
Eminent artists, musicians, scholars and experts in various fields conduct the sessions. There are illustrated and interactive talks on music, poetry, yoga, stage presentation, costumes and allied subjects which form necessary inputs to revitalise the creation, presentation and appreciation of dance. Performing at the temple offers a unique experience to the dancers who are exposed to another dimension of the art – as an offering.
The Trust has decided to offer this camp free of charge to young dance teachers and dancers who wish to enrich their knowledge and experience. The Temple complex at Thennangur has excellent facilities for board and lodging and has a hall where the participants will perform in the evenings for the local audience.
The sessions are broadly divided into
Music (Aspects of Raga, Laya, Lyrics, Compositions)
Poetry Appreciation (Tamil, English, Sanskrit, Telugu. Kannada, Hindi, etc.)
Make-up Costumes Props Lighting
Satvikabhinaya - Padartha, vakyartha, Dhwani
The sessions start around 6 am with Yoga and continue till 4.30 pm with brief intervals for breakfast and lunch. All the sessions are interactive and participatory where the participants are required to create and experiment on the spot. They also jot down notes for the report they will have to submit after the workshop is over. All faculty members are present during all the sessions to offer their comments and share their knowledge in relation to the other subjects. In the evening the participants perform solo items to recorded music and solicit comments from the faculty members for improvement. After 7 pm on the first and second day, festivals are held at the temple where the dancers offer Nritya Seva or Aradhana for music that is sung during Dolotsavam and played on the Nagaswaram during Garuda Sevai. These are improvised on the spot and unrehearsed.
On the final day, the day starts with a Pada Pooja at the Ashram, followed by a walk around the village which has a few quaint houses, old people’s home, a pinjrapole, etc. The sessions conclude by noon with a valedictory function, where certificates are distributed and feedback from the faculty and participants is shared. After a Kalyanotsavam accompanied by an illustrative and informative commentary by the Head Priest, the participants leave the village by 4 pm.
The Report to be submitted by the participants can be in English or Tamil and the best one is awarded a prize of Rs.1000 given on the inaugural function of Natyarangam’s Annual Thematic Dance Festival and is published in the souvenir.
Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar has been the Convenor of Natya Sangraham since the year 2000 except for one year when Sri V.P. Dhananjayan was the Convenor. Over the last few years, the participants are selected from young dance teachers who have their own schools or teach in an institution.
Some of the faculty members we have had over the years are as follows:
1. C.V.Chandrasekhar and Jaya Chandrasekhar
2. Leela Samson
3. V.P. Dhananjayan
4. Adyar Lakshmanan
1. Prof. E.R. Gopalakrishnan
2. Ms. Sukanya Ananth
3. Sri Anil Kumar
1. Poet Vaidheeswaran
2. Dr. Avvai Natarajan
3. Poet Krishangini
5. Dr. Prema Nandakumar
6. Dr. Sudha Seshayyan
7. Prof. S. Raghuraman
8.Va Ve Su
1. Bombay Jayashri
2. Prof. T.R. Subrahmanyam
3. Karaikudi Mani (laya aspects)
5. R. Vedavalli
6. Geetha Raja
7. Rama Ravi
8. Jayanthi and Kumaresh
9. Aruna Sairam
10. Neyveli Santhanagopalan
11. T.M. Krishna and Sangeetha Sivakumar
12. Adyar Lakshmanan (music, nattuvangam)
3. Pushkala Gopal
4. Ambica Buch
5. Shantha Dhananjayan
6. Vyjayanthimala Bali
7. Sudharani Raghupathy
8. Chitra Visweswaran
2. Kalanidhi Narayanan
3. Sudharani Raghupathy
5. Bragha Bessell
6. Vyjayanthimala Bali
7. C.K. Balagopal
8. A. Janardhanan
9. Therukoothu artist Usha Rani in Panithee
10.Sridhar and Anuradha
11.Vasanthalakshmi and Narasimhachari
Theory and analysis of compositions
1. Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao
2. Rama Kausalya