BHARATHA NATYAM TEACHERS
Padma Bhushan Shantha and Dhananjayan, disciples of the legendary Rukmini Devi of Kalakshetra are international celebrities and one of the foremost couple dancers of India. They have become a legendary dancing couple of India in their own lifetime and are acknowledged as “new trend setters” in classical traditions and have given new dimensions to choreography in Indian Dance Theater. As teachers, par excellence, they are held in high esteem in the realm of Indian classical dancers. The dance academy Bharata Kalanjali they founded in Chennai in 1968 is an eloquent testimony to their cultural integrity, preservation, and popularization of the art and culture. Directing and teaching the annual Natya Camps conducted by the Fine Arts Society of Yogaville, Virginia, USA, in the traditional Gurukulum style for the past 22 years is a testament of the Dhananjayan’s ability to teach with a perfect understanding of the psychology of children born and raised in countries outside of India.
Padmarani Rasiah Cantu
Padmarani, who was born in Sri Lanka, combines versatility with an international reputation as a dancer and teacher par excellence. She studied with the distinguished master teachers Padmasri Adyar K. Lakshman and the Padma Bhushan Sri and Smt. Dhananjayan of Chennai, India, and has performed extensively in many other countries and in the United States, earning accolades from audiences and critics alike. From 1984, Padmarani has been the Artistic Director and Instructor of the Fine Arts Society of Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia. She has presented many of her students for dance graduation and teaches along with the Dhananjayans at the annual Natya Gurukulam conducted by the Fine Arts Society. As a selected artist with the Virginia Commission for the Arts Tour Directory for the past 21 years, cultural and educational institutions in Virginia benefit from her expertise in performing and teaching this art form in all its pure and pristine glory.
Kannan Rasiah studied Bharatha Natyam under Smt. Padmarani Rasiah-Cantu for 18 years. Since 1994, he has also studied under the Dhananjayans and Adyar K Lakshman at the Fine Arts Society Natya Adyayana Gurukulam. He has been an assistant teacher at the gurukulam for the past 5 years. Kannan is a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and Yoshinkan Aikido and a brown belt in Goshindo Japanese sword. He has been teaching martial arts for the past 5 years and is also an RYT-200 certified Integral Hatha Yoga teacher.
SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTIONS AND HATHA YOGA TEACHERS
Swami Gurucharananda Mataji
Mataji is a senior monk-disciple of Sri Swami Satchidananda Maharaj, and an inspiration to all who know her. Her life exemplifies “discipline, dedication and devotion” to the Teacher, Teachings and Sanga. She delights in sharing the teachings of Integral Yoga and has done so for more than 50 years. “Mataji,” is one of our most popular teachers at Yogaville and abroad, leading guided meditations, Hatha Yoga classes, meditation workshops, offering kirtans and giving talks. Mataji also serves as as a beloved mentor/counselor in the Ashram Guest Services department. Mataji service as a pujari and inspires all who come to worship with her devotion and joy-filled smile. Mataji has served as the Fine Art’s Music Teacher since it inception, and this will be her 24th year serving as the main Hatha Yoga teacher at the Natya Adyayana Gurukulam.
Swami Priyaananda Mataji
Swami Priyaananda has devoted over thirty years to the study, practice, and teaching of Integral Yoga. Her life is an example of yoga in action, and her classes are a beautiful reflection of her love and dedication. Mataji is currently serves at the Ashram as Director of the Living Yoga Training program, guiding aspirants in how to establish and go deeper on their spiritual path. She also oversees the Satchidananda Ashram Archives, preserving the teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda for future generations. Priyaananda serves as a main instructor for the Raja Yoga & Meditation Teacher Training programs. She provides Yoga instruction for the children at the Vidyalayam (the Integral Yoga Elementary School), teaches Yoga classes to Ashram guests & residents. She has instructed the Intermediate level hatha class at the Gurukulam for the past 13 years.