Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana 2008 – Knowledge management in Bharatanatyam 
- Charanya Gurusathya, Michigan 
e mail: 
May 15, 2008 

Passion is universal humanity.  Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.  
- Honoré de Balzac, 1799-1850, French novelist 

The ten-day dance workshop at Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana was a lifetime experience. It was a privilege to learn from eminent gurus Sudharani Raghupathy and Narthaki Natraj. We were exposed to both contemporary and ancient styles of teachings in dance. Right from how dance has evolved from the times of our ancestors, adavus that are no more in use these days to how uniquely we can bring in mathematical calculations in today’s dance repertoire, innovating new concepts, and improvising on minor aspects of abhinaya. 

We were twenty of us, aging between 13 and 35. It was exciting to learn from each other too. Though all of us came from different schools of dance, it was a fun to understand and appreciate the beauty of each style in Bharatanatyam. More than mere dancing or rather learning new pieces we were taught how to appreciate, comprehend and learn from the gurus – precisely perseverance to grasp to the maximum, execute with perfection, passion acting as the driving force coupled with respect towards all. 

Dance in today's term just means another medium of exercise - rather it would be apt to say, "to keep oneself physically fit." Most people consider Indian classical dance also in the similar form.  The younger generation today aims at learning more dance numbers in a short span, focusing on performing in prestigious sabhas, making a mark in a field that is like an ocean. Yes, agreed that all these are important but in the process there is no clarity in the dance, nuances are ignored and least importance is given to perfection. Dancers should understand that beyond all this, dance elevates the student, dancer and the audience to an aesthetic level that can be well comprehended when; there is dedication, excellence and zeal. Though my views revolve around Bharatanatyam, nonetheless it will be suitable to all classical dance forms. 

Life without passion becomes so absurd; it was clearly visible in the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana, the passion of the organizers to sustain our rich cultural heritage, the passion of gurus of high caliber to teach all at par, the passion of students to learn. In short, the aim of Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana was to bring in like-minded people together at one place to impart knowledge, and they have succeeded in their venture.  
There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it's the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson 
- Anthony Robbins, American author, speaker  

Charanya Gurusathya is a disciple of Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran of Bangalore. She is currently practicing under the tutelage of Roopa Shyamsundara, Michigan.