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23 February 2000

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Feature

Bhaaskara is in search of Kubera

The Dhananjayans embark on an ambitious art gurukula in Kerala. But without sponsorship, their Bhaaskara might never rise

This April the Dhananjayans hope to give Kerala a special Vishu kaineetam -- Bhaaskara. A gurukula for music, painting, dance and sculpture.

For the famed dancing couple this will be their second venture, after Bharatakalanjali, a dance academy in Chennai. In April 1999, T N Seshan, another son of Kerala, laid the foundation for the new arts institute at Payannur.

Come June 2000, full-time courses in Karnatak vocal, mridangam, veena, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali will begin. "If the response is good, we will introduce violin and flute classes also," Dhananjayan told The Music Magazine.

As a curtain raiser, there will be a one-month summer camp from May 1 to June 1 on the campus, the fee for which is Rs 10,000. The fee for foreign nationals is 500 dollars.

Students who attend the camp will see for themselves the rigour with which a gurukula works. Karnatak vocal classes are part of the camp.

As things stand, music at the camp means vocal. "But the instrumentalists can also enrol to learn compositions of great masters," says Dhananjayan.

Bhaaskara has enlisted the services of T K Govinda Rao, the well-known vocalist and teacher. Rao and his disciples will teach students at the camp.

Short-term art courses at Bhaaskara could take off in the summer of 2001. The gurukula plans both beginner and advanced courses.

All this will be combined with formal education. If things go as planned, classes one to three will start in June this year.

As the co-ed school grows, it plans to take in 500 students. Hostels are being built. It will function on the lines of the Kalakshetra and the Vishwabharati.

Long-term plans of the institute include a craft village and a research wing.

So far the Dhananjayans haven't found a sponsor. "We need a lot of funds even to start in June this year," says Dhananjayan.

Donations, he says, can be in cash or kind, anything that will further the intention of Bhaaskara "to make art education available to everyone irrespective of social or financial status."

Parvathy P B

Visit the gurukula's site

Mail the Dhananjayans .




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