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Celebrating an amalgamation of two styles of Bharathanatyam

December 2015
Celebrating an amalgamation of two styles of Bharathanatyam


(Left) Darshini Natayalaya.

Bharatha Nrityasala and Darshini Natyalaya conducted their dance program with Dr. Kalai Chellam on October 17, 2015.

Darshini Natayalaya under the direction of Smt. Gayatri Seshadri showcased their ‘Natyamala’ dance program with an array of dancers from tiny tots to professionals. Gayatri Seshadri is an alumna of Chennai-based Bharata Kalanjali founded by the legendary dance gurus, the Dhananjayans, Sri V. P. Dhananjayan and his wife Shanta Dhananjayan. Gayatri continued to sharpen her skills in this divine art under the able guidance of Smt. Radhika Shurajit, one of the senior disciples of the Dhananjayans.

Drawing from her years of training and performing and following the best traditions of her alma mater, Bharata Kalanjali, Gayatri Seshadri founded the Darshini Natayalaya Academy in Memphis, Tennessee in 1998 and relocated to Georgia in 2013. She now performs and trains students in this art form from her studio in Cumming, Georgia. Darshini Natyalaya’s mission is to increase each student’s physical, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing through the art of Bharathanatyam. In addition, Darshini Natyalaya seeks to increase their curiosity and passion for Indian culture, mythology, music, and art.

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(Left) Bharata Nrityasala.

Bharata Nrityasala conducted its annual dance recital 2015 during the auspicious Navaraathri time, providing an opportunity to showcase the talent of its disciples. This school, affiliated to Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam’s Nrithyodaya in Chennai, India, was founded by Late Guru. Sundari Santhanam in Bangalore more than 30 years ago, whose legacy has been continued by her daughter Smt. Harini Santhanam.

Harini has been running this school since 2009 and has since expanded to Forsyth County in Georgia. Harini comes from a parampara established by Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, who over several decades ago, revived and reconstructed aspects of Bharata’s Natya Shastra, thus bridging the gap between theory and practice that has existed for over 500 years. This aspect was incorporated in the Bharata Natyam curriculum taught at their schools and this technique of dancing gave birth to Bharata Nrityam. This word Bharata Nrityam was coined to differentiate Dr. Padma’s style of dancing that not only includes the traditional adavus of Bharata Natyam but also includes other theoretical and practical aspects of Natya Shastra like the bedhas, caris, nrittahastas, and karanas. Bharata Nrityasala’s focus is to spread this lost technique of Bharata Natyam revived by Dr. Padma.





Dr. Kalai Chellam.

Gayatri and Harini were extremely pleased to have Dr. Kalai Chellam preside at the function. Just as her name Kalai in Tamil means Art, she is a master of multiple art forms, as well as a philanthropist, and teacher. Dr Chellam is an Internist and a geriatrician, with special interest in hospital medicine and Alzheimer’s disease. She is Medical Director of the Heart Wellness Center and also works at DeKalb Medical Center. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Morehouse School of Medicine and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia campus, president of the charitable American Tamil Medical Association, and principal of the GATS affiliated Tamil School.





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