Classes are grouped according to age and ability. Groups are limited to small ratios to ensure that each student receives adequate attention. Progress is monitored very closely as it is imperative to create a strong foundation for the learner, to further enable the student’s mastery of the art form over the years.
A strong foundation is set with the basics and as the students progress in their learning, traditional kritis (compositions of Tyagaraja, Dikshatar, Swati Tirunal, Syama sastry, Annamacharya, Papanasam Sivan, Subrahmanya Bharathi etc) are taught according to age and ability.
Students are also taught semi-classical songs: Bhajans (Sai bhajans, Meera bhajans, Surdas, Kabirdas and popular light classical songs from films etc.), Thevaram, Thiruppugazh and recitation of Shlokas, to help them develop a closer connection with our tradition.
For students of other faiths, musical compositions are chosen to include hymns on the various deities, set to music using the classical or semi-classical style of rendering as the basic foundation. For festivals and community events, groups are trained to cover songs in a variety of languages (Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Sanskrit, Hindi, Malayalam and Gujarati).
Dance compositions have been specifically created for students of other faiths and performances have been designed to exemplify how this traditional art form is universally adapted.
SANSKRITI: classes are held at Ilford, Manor park and Croydon. For Advanced training, individual lessons can be provided at the students’ homebase or at Sanskriti:’s locations. Classes are planned for a 60-minute duration. Most sessions for dance are held in the local area church community halls, where the space is large, with heating and lighting facilities, and changing/washroom facilities.
The Bharatanatyam training incorporates aspects of yoga, pilates and the traditional arts form so beginners are eased into rigorous body work or ‘nritta’- which is a very strong characteristic of the Kalakshetra style. Abhinaya (expression) and theory are taught alongside nritta as students progress. The training typically spans over 3-6 years before the student is able to render a full ‘maargam’ or repertoire, culminating in the solo maiden performance or ‘arangetram’. For vocal, theory and practical application skills for performance are taught in a structured way. All students are able to exhibit their talents at various public and community events throughout the year. They are encouraged to participate in competitions to boost confidence levels and overcome fear of public appearances.
QCA recognized Bharatanatyam dance grade exams are offered through the ISTD examination board (http://www.istd.org).
Sangeet Sahai vocal examinations are held for carnatic music.
Music and Dance lessons are conducted in the following places:
Sundays – Manor park (Dance and Music Lessons)
Thursdays – Croydon (Dance Lessons Only)
Saturdays – Croydon (Dance Lessons Only)
Private individual and group sessions taught in Ilford