The Thennangur experience
A dance session at the camp.
THE SERENE village of Thennangur among the fields, with its soaring towers of the Panduranga temple, finds busloads of devotees descending on it every weekend. One particular bus load which comes for a three-day spell every year makes the temple and the adjoining Bhajan hall ring with dance and music. And it has been brought by the young dancers of Natya Sangraham, the Bharatanatyam camp conducted by Natyarangam, the dance wing of Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai.
"I came last year for the first time and decided to come every year if selected," says Nandini Ramani.
The day begins with starts literally at cock-crow, when the participants rushing to the yoga and chanting session conducted by E. R. Gopalakrishnan. as part of the Angika abhinaya aspect.Kalanidhi Narayanan analyses the whys and wherefores of Satvika abhinaya and guides the dancers. The creative instinct of the participants is given new challenges by Pushkala Gopal.
The proceedings are monitored and guided by Guru C. V. Chandrasekhar, who is the co-ordinator for the camp. The facilities and the hospitality help the participants to go through a demanding schedule with comfort and ease.
R. Krishnaswamy, Secretary, Narada Gana Sabha, personally supervises all arrangements. Committee members like Subramaniam, Kannan and Balasubramaniam attend to the needs of the participants. The flag hoisting on Republic day is celebrated with a dance by Lavanya Ananth.
"We wish more dancers from Chennai would avail of this unique opportunity," says Charukesi, another committee member, " mind you, it is free." This year the NRIs and foreigners numbered 12 in a batch of 26. Glowing with joy Maki Fukuda from Japan says, "We loved every minute of the camp." Ildiko Gilyas of Hungary, who learns dance and Tamil says, the camp gave her a lot of insights into the art and life of the people.
Vijay Palaparty, Vani and Malini Srinivasan from the U.S., Chanderika Gnanaratnam from Australia and a whole contingent from Sri Lanka form the Indian diaspora. Ilari Kaila from Finland has come as an observer.
"Before we came we wondered, "Why Thennangur? Why can't the camp be conducted at Chennai?" Now we stand convinced that this is possible only at Thennangur," Lavanya Vikram and Sai Kripa of Chennai say wistfully.
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