Day 1: I wondered whether I would get anything out of the workshop conducted by the Dhananjayans. I wondered whether it was all worth it. We were learning a piece that was getting totally jumbled in my head. There were too many episodes and at the end of the day, I could not even remember the music.
Day 2: I knew it was worth it. I understood why Dhananjayan Anna and Shanta Akka have played Rama and Sita so often. Anna’s gentle humour, Akka’s quiet poise.
I remembered when I went with my teacher to their place while Akka was taking class. I could barely take my eyes off her. 68 now, and still so beautiful.
In her own words, Anna is the architect and she is the engineer. I watched her teaching. I realised how similar she is to my teacher and I realised once again how blessed I am.
Day 3: A performance at Tilak Smarak Mandir. Of course there were parts I did not enjoy. It’s part of the experience of a dance performance. But I come back knowing that this couple is historic. Anna himself says he is the trend-setter for men to dance like men. Tears ran down my cheeks when Anna, as Dasharatha, listened to Kaikeyi’s words. Akka, as Kooni (Manthara) was spectacular. The concept and the execution – both were outstanding.
I am still overwhelmed. I wonder if we as a dance troupe will ever get the opportunity to perform before them and see what they think.