Neighbourhood dance school reaches a milestone

The school has given 500 arangetrams till date. Photo : S.R. Raghunathan   | Photo Credit: S_R_Raghunathan

It was started with just four students. It has 500 young learners today.

Sri Saraswathi Gana Nilayam in Triplicane, which is 75 years old, has grown silently but steadily, staying away from limelight. Clearly, the number of students it has is evidence.

Founded by Bharatnatyam exponent K. Lalitha, the school today is run by her first student Ranganayaki Jayaraman. For this 80-year-old, the school is life.

“The school has given 500 arangetrams till date and many of my students have started their own dance schools abroad. Some are even teaching here,” says Ranganayaki, who gave her maiden performance in front of Rukmani Devi Arundale, who, she says, was an inspiration to both her and her guru.

The school follows the Tanjore style of dancing.

“Over the years, we have adapted and improvised. We take all good features from other dance styles,” she says.

The school prides itself on being one of the first institutions to popularise group arangretarms of students.

“Today, organising an arangretarm is nothing less that organising a marriage. It is a costly affair. To reduce the financial burden on parents, we had started the concept of group arangetrams where a maximum of five students give their first stage performance. Now, this has become common practice,” says Satya, a student-turned teacher.

Called the ‘Thoppu Street dance school’, it accords importance to perfection.

“Though discipline is the thumb rule here, they are not strict with students. The school provides a friendly learning environment for children,” says Balachander, a parent of a student learning dance at the institute.

Thematic group performances are the highlight of this school. They have made presentations such as shakthi prabhavam, krishnanajali, navarasa nayaki, and kandha puranam to name a few.

“During Navarathri, we organise a week-long dance programme at the school for the students. Within one year of their joining the school, students get to perform on stage in front of an audience,” says Ranganayaki, who is known for her nattuvangam style.

The school has taught famous people like actor Raja Sulochana, dance exponent Saroja Vaidyanathan and actor Revathy.

The school also gives concession for underprivileged children to learn dance.

“The fee is subsidised for them and we also bear charges for getting dresses stitched for such students,” says Satya.

The school is located at 6, Thoppu Street, Triplicane. For details, call 2844 3327.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 9:44:17 PM |

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