In dance world, we often hear the word sastra or shastras. NATYA being most known and cited, forget the fact very few dancers in the country (except perhaps Padma Subrahmanyam who knows Sanskrit and its in-depth meaning and follows its tenets to a T, or the Dhananjayans) maintain its core essence, in form and use; in shape or size as NATYAshastra describes!
So to see eager students graduating from Sastra University of Tanjore, at a special ceremony, was interesting. I must confess had I not been invited as one of main guests, I wouldn’t be privy to the proceedings because it was not a public event. Just parents, pandits of arts and President of the Music Academy N. Murali for the degree conferment of BFA and MFA students of Bharatanatyam of Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy= Sastra University! Its Harvard returned Dean, S. Vaidhyasubramaniam looked humble despite high credentials but then this is Tamil culture. High thinking, simple living. Not much show just substance. Mahati Kannan, with bright shining eyes (shows tejaswa) sang in praise of Madurai Meenakshi by way of an invocation, followed by a short dance presentation by senior dancer Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari, MFA degree recipient and winner of this year's DIRECTOR SUBRAHMAYAM ENDOWMENT AWARD. All this, under the benevolent but stern watchful eyes of other Meenakshi-eyed of Madras, the one and only truly academically inclined star senior dancer-guru-scholar of India -- Dr. Padma Subrahmayam.
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