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Nritta Dhyana dance school to celebrate silver jubilee

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By Sajeev K Peter

Nritta Dhyana, a well-known school for Indian classical dance in Kuwait, celebrates its silver jubilee on January 18 with a spectacular evening of Indian classical dances by its students.

Nritta_Dhyana

For Sujatha Rajendran, the founder and artistic director of Nritta Dhyana, it truly has been an invigorating journey spanning over two decades of imparting knowledge of classical dances to the Indian community in Kuwait. Her love and interest for the Indian classical dance forms culminated in the initiation of 'Nritta Dhyana' in 1987 with the goal of sharing the rich legacy of the traditions passed on to her by her eminent gurus. "It's been 25 years, but it feels like just yesterday when I started teaching classical dance. When I first came to Kuwait soon after my marriage, little did I know that I would be starting something so positive and amazing," Sujatha told the Kuwait Times on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Nritta Dhyana.

Asked what prompted her to open a classical dance school, she said, "Initially, I was a bit hesitant on teaching, but with the encouragement of my family and friends, I started with just one student. With time, word spread around and I was approached by more and more parents to teach their children." An acclaimed exponent of Bharatnatyam, Kathakali and Mohiniattam, Sujatha is however an ardent follower of classical dance who would not like to dilute the classical purity.

"While there were times when parents would request me to teach their kids western or cinematic dance. But I stood by Nritta Dhyana's core principles and tried to make them recognize the beauty and richness of our Indian classical dances," she explained. "While a few may have been disappointed at this, but today I can proudly state that I am glad I stood by my principles and that Nritta Dhyana will continue to teach pure classical dance and instill Indian traditions in my students," she explained.

Her passion for the art has inspired her students to cherish this valuable legacy. While her uncompromising stand on authenticity gives them a solid base, her ventures into original and unique choreography exposes them to creativity.

Sujatha began her initial training in Bharatnatyam and Kathakali under the legendary gurus, Kalamandalam Thankamani Kutty and late Kalamandalam Govindan Kutty of Kolkata. Later in Madras, she continued her training under the guidance of the legendary maestros Dhananjayans and Venkatachelapathy, and perfected her training in the Kalakshetra style. She received her Mohiniattam training under Vijaya Mukundan and had her arangetram at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu at the age of nine. "It is an exciting feeling to mould young children's way of thinking and impart knowledge to them about Indian culture and art; getting them to accept Indian values and culture when there is so much of western influence everywhere," she said.

Over the years, hundreds of children have learned Indian classical dance under Sujatha. "I am proud of the fact that many of my disciples have gone on to study the art under eminent gurus and higher learning institutions in India and have become accomplished dancers and individuals. Today, the promising next generation of dancers of Nritta Dhyana will showcase their talents and I promise you, it will be a feast for the eyes," she concluded. The silver jubilee celebration will take place on (Jan 18) Friday from 5.30 pm onwards at the Marina Hall, Jleeb Al-Shoyoukh.

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