Naatya Adhyayana Camp 2008
May 12, 2008 

Bharatakalanjali and Bhaaskara Trust jointly conducted the annual summer Gurukulam Naatya Adhyayana camp from April 19 to May 3, 2008 in Kaithapram, Payyanur, Kerala.  There were more than 100 applications and lots of enquiries coming in. But due to lack of proper accommodation, they could accommodate only 85 inmates, which included 65 students and the rest were staff and helpers. 

It was amazing to watch the children from the age of 9 years, coming from different parts of the globe brushing their shoulders in total camaraderie spirit and living like one family.  One could sense that the purpose of their congregation was to concentrate on their learning. True to the spirit of Gurukulam, the dedicated teachers spent their valuable time totally for the benefit of the students.

The faculty members for this year's Gurukulam include, 
For Bharatanaatya: Gurus V P Dhananjayan & Shanta Dhananjayan, assisted by Seetha Sasidharan, Deepthi Rajesh and Gopukiran 
For vocal music: Rajesh Trikkaripur
For Yoga: Naveen & Jisha John (BA graduates from Bhaaskara college of Yoga & philosophy) under the guidance of Prof: T.V.Padmanabhan.

The day started with Yoga-aasana at 6 in the morning, chanting of the Upanishad and Yogasutra pervading the sylvan surrounding of the heavenly hill Kaithapram and then reverberating with music and naatya sessions in the temple architecture class rooms.  Through out the day till late evening, all that goes to create a divine atmosphere that one never can experience in urban settings. Children roughed it out, by sleeping on grass mats, squatting down on the floor to eat, drank pure distilled water from the well straight, ate just home grown fruits and vegetables, washed their plates and clothes themselves - they experienced a typical life at Gurukulam. Fifteen days passed by at the wink of an eye and soon it was time to depart with tears in their eyes. 

Erina Kasai from Japan, Dr. Anuradha Murali from Orengeburg (USA), Pramila Ramesh and her two disciples from Muscat represented the global participation.  Students from Kolkota, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rish Valley school, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh truly brought an integrated Bhaaratam. 

The day's hard work of practicing Naatya, learning the music and memorizing the Naatya theory slokas (verses) was broken by the spell of Bhajan (group prayer singing) in the twilight setting of a breathtaking sunset scene, taking the children to a world of spirituality.  Here they all got an opportunity to display their talent in singing and histrionics. 
The students relaxed and enjoyed the lighter application in-group dancing choreographed by two of the faculty members Gopukiran helped by Madhavi Chandran (senior student) and Venugopala Rao, (Pookkal & Leelavathi) breaking the strenuous serious study of Naatya.

The participants also got opportunities to witness the rural ritualistic arts forms such as Theyyam, Harimohan's special instrumental ensemble of complicated taala system, and Majulan's one-man theater show in Malayalam.

May 3rd, the culmination day, found a large crowd of local villagers, parents and relatives of the students witnessing the few items from the Bharatanaatyam repertoire they learned during the two-week camp.  Prof (Dr.) K K N Kurup (Former Vice Chancellor of Calicut University) and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Kannur University, Dr. K Kunhikrishnan awarded the certificates to all the participants. 

Guru Dhananjayan donated more than 500 books from his collection to the Sanjaya memorial Library in Payyanur and it was received by Sekharan Maash, who is heading the Library. This library is adjudged as the best library in Kerala with largest collection of books, and a well-organized literary house.