On dance as a career, Dhananjayan says...

"Only a fragment of the society understands the value of acquiring artistic talent. Therefore the scope for pursuing it as a career is very limited. The situation is improving and there is now a lot of demand for dance teachers. There are more performers. Teaching is more demanding than performing. Most dance teachers who are competent enough make a good living.

Though there are innumerable dancers, professional performers are few. To give a professional performance is very challenging and thorough knowledge of the art, coupled with a certain amount of publicity would help one to be a successful professional dancer earning a comfortable living."

Over a long dancing career, the Dhananjayans have received innumerable National and International awards and recognition.
Awards at Home

Saroja Vaidyanathan's Ganesha Naatyaalaya's 44th Anniversary - The Dhananjayans were honoured with SHRESHTA KALA PRACHAARAK AWARD  at Delhi Tamizh Sangam, Sector V, RK Puram, New Delhi on April 9, 2018.

The Mayura Naatyaanjali organisation honoured Dhananjayan with the title 'MAYURA NRITYA SAAGARAM' at the Mayura Naatyaanjali festival (Sivaratri festival) under the auspices of Saptaswarangal Arakattalai - Mayiladuthurai (Mayavaram) held in 'Mayuranathar Aalayam (big temple) on 10th February 2018.
Report & Photos

Payyanur Arts & Charitable Trust  honoured V.P.Dhananjayan on February 4, 2018

Shanta Dhananjayan & VP Dhananjayan received the life time achievement award from Rotary Club-Mitra  on 30th January 2018.  Hon. Minister for Culture  Dr. Pandia Rajan  and Hon Justice R.Subramanian gave away the awards.

The Dhananjayans received the Kerala goverment's NISHAGANDHI PURASKAR on 20th January 2018 at Thiruvananthapuram. It included a citation, Bharatamuni plaque and a cash prize of Rs.1.5 lakhs.

The Dhananjayans were honoured with the "Pride of India" from Provoke (Wella Professionals), South India's most prestigious awards on 20th December, 2017.
The award citation reads "This is to certify that Mr & Mrs.Dhananjayan have been bestowed with the title of 'PRIDE OF INDIA"  BY THE JURY APPOINTED BY PROVOKE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE.  Awarded as on 20-12-2017 "
A most colourful standard ceremony was attended by a large crowd from different walks of life.

Korattur Malayalee Sowhrudavedi, a socio-cultural organization operating from Korattur presented the STREE RATNA AWARD 2017  to Shantha Dhananjayan  during the Women’s Day Celebration on 12th March 2017 at the Bhaktavatsalam school premises.

The Dhananjayans were bestowed with Rotary award of 'For the Sake of Honor'  towards their immense contribution in the field of performing arts by Rotary Club of Madras Central on February 27, 2017, 6.30pm at Hotel Hyatt, Teynampet, Chennai.

Naatyaachaarya V.P.Dhananjayan has been appointed as the DEAN of the Performing Arts Section of the age old ANNAMALAI UNIVERSITY, Chidambaram, Tamizhnaadu.

Naatyaachaaryaa Smt. Shanta Dhananjayan is appointed as Hon head of the Faculty.

With these prestigious appointments they hope to revamp and bring more credibility and enhance the standard of the Annamalai University Performing arts Degree course.

Dhananjayan appointed dean at Annamalai varsity
- The Hindu, 24 Nov 2016

Trinity Arts Festival of India presented the Award for Lifetime Achievement to VP Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan on Sunday, the 25th December 2016, 6.01pm.
At: Kumararani Meena Muthiah College of Arts & Science, 4, Crescent Avenue Road, (off 4th. Main Road), Gandhi Nagar, Chennai-600020

VP.DHANANJAYAN received the ALVA’S EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION’S  VIRASAT AWARD-2016 on 13th January 2017 at Moodbidri  Dakshina Karnataka.

The award comprising a citation and a cash award of rupees One lakh was given on 13th January 2017 in the presence of an enlightened audience consisting of thousands of art lovers.

The other stalwarts who received this prestigious honour earlier are celebrities like Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain, Pt. Hariprasad Chowrasya (flute), Dr. Sonal Mansingh (Odissi Nritya), Dr. Padma Subrahmaniam (Bharatanritya), Dr.K.J.Yesudas(Carnatic & playback singer) and Dr. S.P.Balasubahmniam (playback singer).

 TVG honouring the "Ideal couple"  on the occasion of Dr. Balamuralikrishna's 86th birthday celebration at Kamarajar Arangam, Chennai on 6th July 2016.

ABHAI (Association of Bharatanaatyam Artisrtes of India) conferred the prestigious award and title 'NAATYA-KALAANIDHI"  to  the Dhananjayans on 1st May 2016 at 6.00 p.m at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. Chief guest on this occasion was former Governor of Bengal Shri. M.K. Narayanan.

(The pictures provided by Chella Vaidyanathan gives a section of the audience on 1st May at SKGS & a group photo of the awardees with the Abhai working team)

On 1st May 2016 at 7.00 pm the Dhananjayans were honoured at the Kapaaleeswarar Koil Vasanth Utsav organized by Saraswathi Education Cultural & Charitable Trust. Former Governor of Bengal Shri. Gopalakrishna Gandhi was the Chief guest and he conferred the award and honour to The Dhananjayans.

The Dhananjayans were honoured - Leda Shantala's school on the 22nd of April 2016 at Athens

Poojyasri Swami Omkarananda (Sri Chidhbhavananda Ashram, Theni) honoured The Dhananjayans with the 'Arsha Kala Bhushanam' award on February 28, 2016.

Brahma Gaana Sabha honoured The Dhananjayans with their annual Award & Title NAATYA PADMAM during the annual Art festival  function at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, Mylapore, Chennai on 1st January 2016.
Report & Photos

SARADHI, Cultural Organisation & Art institute, Chennai bestowed the title & honour BHARATAKALA SRESHTA at Bharateeya Vidya Bhavan auditorium, Mylapore  on 8th November,  6.00pm .  They received the award from Sri.M.K.Narayan, Former Governor of West Bengal followed by Nritya Darashan, performance. Also seen in the photos - Kala Sasikumar, the founder of  Saradhi.

Jayalakshmi Alwa’s Sridevi Nrithya Kendra in association with Ministry of Culture, New Delhi / Kannada & Culture, Bangalore presented Nrityotsava 2015 and honoured The Dhananjayans with the award "Natyakala Tapaswi".
At: SDM College auditorium, Mangalore on October 25, 2015, 6.05pm

THE DHANANJAYANS were given the award & honour GURUSRESHTA by the Peravoor KALAMANDIR College of fine Arts (Kerala) during their annual Nataraj Art Festival 2015 on 29th April.

Commemorating Valentine’s day Culturama Magazine - Global Adjustments India honored the Dhananjayans with the ART OF LOVING award on Feb 13, 2015 at Chennai. 

T.Unnikrishnan, founder of Kaavya Art Center, Dubai celebrated its 3rd anniversary with great enthusiasm and honoured his Gurus, The Dhananjayans with a 3 hour long program titled GURUVANDANAM.A plaque of honour was presented to The Dhananjayans as mark of Guruvandanam by Sri.Venu Parameshwar, Chief Financial Officer, Dunia Finance LLC and Unnikrishnan on 6th February 2015.at the Wellington International school auditorium, Dubai.

2nd Nov: Natyanjali Trust, Chennai - Nartaka award 2014

27th Sept:  Saarathi Cultural Center, Chennai - Kalasaarathi award 2014

13th Sept: Vishakapattnam (AP) Vyshakhi honor - Life Time achievement award

Lalitha Kala Vedika (BVS Mani Foundation) honored the Dhananjayans with a gold medal & citation in memory of BVSS Mani on 27 Aug 2014.

At Mudhra 2013, Kumararani Meena Muthiah College of Arts & Science, Chettinad Kalaikoodam honoured Legends with Life time achievement Award - Rs.10,000 cash prize and a plaque of honour were given to the Dhananjayans on 12th October 2013 at the college premises in Adyar, presided by Dr. Meena Muthiah (Founder & Trustee of the College).

The Dhananjayans were honored with the prestigious honour & award "KALA-RATNA" by the Organizing Committee of Swami Haridas Sangeet Sammelan - Brindavan (Mathura) UP on 15th September 2013 on the inaugural day of the festival.
The award scroll inscribed in Hindi  reads:

Utsav Music in association with Sri Krishna Gana Sabha organized Dance Day Celebrations - conferring "Utsav Nrithya Ratna" title to The Dhananjayans at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on April 28, 2013
Special guest: The Hindu N Ram

ROTARY CLUB OF CHENNAI GALAXY (Rotary International District 3230) presented “LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2013” for Cultural Excellence to The Dhananjayans, Padmabhushan VP & Shanta Dhananjayan. 
Presented by DR. A.KALANIDHI (Vice Chairman Common wealth Science &Technology, Former Vice Chancellor of Anna University)
on February 6th, 2013 at Hotel Accord Metropolitan, T.Nagar.
Recipients of this prestigious recognition included celebrities like. Dr.J.Balasubramaniam (JB) Director VHS & TTK Blood bank, Dr.Ravikumar.R (Cardio specialist, Chettinaadu Hospitals, American Board certified surgeon) & A. Diamond Babu.

RUKMINI FELLOWSHIP AWARD 2013 iInstituted by VITALSPRING  Technologies Washington DC USA goes to the DHANANJAYANS.  This was announced today the  2nd January 2013 in a special function at Hotel My Fortune Chennai (Chola Sheraton).

Dr. Sridhar and Jyotsna Poturazu  announced the names of the winners amidst a special gathering of artistes as a total surprise.
The fellowship award carries a purse of Rupees two lakhs (Rs. 2,00,000).  This was in connection with the Music Academy's 7th Annual Naatya Festival being inaugurated  by US Consula General Ms. JENNIFER A MCINTYRE on 3rd January 2013  sponsored by VITALSPRING -TECHNOLOGIES.

Image courtesy The Hindu, 15 Dec 2012
The Dhananjayans were awarded the  NAADA-BRAHMAM  title & honour by one of the prestigious Cultural Organisations in  Dakshin Bhaarat NAARADA GAANA SABHA , Chennai. This award carries a purse of Rs.50,000/- (fifty thousand) and gold medals.  The award function coincided with the Art festival inaugural day on 14th December 2012 at Gnanananda Auditorium,  Alwarpet.

The Dhananjayans were honoured by KARUR  NAATYAANAJALI festival committee (Tamizhnaadu)  with the title of  "MUTHIRAI PATHITHA VITHAGAR" (Great Achiever) and cash price of Rs.25,000/- (twenty five thousand) and gold medal & plaque of honour at the award function held on 6th January 2013.

Guru Indira Rajan (guest of honour) and Suryanarayamurthy (participant) in epoch  making event.

Dhananjayan received the K.T.Mohammad Puraskar “Abhinaya Kesari” at the Palakkad, Malayala Bhaasha Paadasaala (Payyanur) award function on March 15, 2012.

Guru Shanta Dhananjayan received the MEGA TV "Women Achievers' award 2012" on 8th March, 2012. (International Womens day).

The Mudhra Award of Excellence (instituted in memory of the late Gnanamba and P. Obul Reddy) was presented to V.P. Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan on December 9, 2011 during the inauguration of Mudhra’s 16th Fine Arts Festival.

Chennai based VELS UNIVERSITY conferred a D.Litt Honorary Doctorate Degree on V.P.Dhananjayan on 14th December 2011. Former President Dr.Abdul Kalam was the chief guest on the second convocation of the University when Dhananjayan received the honour.

82nd birth day commemorative honour to artistes of Eminence. Presided by Dr. Pappu Venugopal Rao.
Awarded to Veteran Music composer Director M.S. Viswanathan, Veteran Actors (Stage & Films) V.S.Raghavan, A.R.Srinivasan and Bharatanaatyam artistes Shanta & Dhananjayan.

Function held on 21st August 2011 at Pethachi Auditorium, Mylapore followed by Bharatakalaanjali's "Nritya tarangini" presentation.

The Dhananjayans were honoured with Life Time Achievement award by the Kerala Circle Rotary International on 12th Feb 2011 at Kozhikkode during the Rotary International Convention.

The G.D.Birla Award instituted by the Birla Academy of Arts & Culture, were presented to the Dhananjayans in New Delhi on Monday the 21st June 210.
Details & Photos

Delhi based Sree Shanmukhananda Sangeettha Sabha honoured The Dhananjayans with the title and honour "NAATYA RATNA" on 26th February 2010 on the inauguration of their 60th year Art festival.

The Dhananjayans received Life time achievement Award from Women Exclusive Magazine on 21Jan 2010.

Naatyaachaarya Shanta and V.P.Dhananjayan were honoured and felicitated for their immense contribution to the field of performing arts and in particular Bharatanaatyam by Narada Gana Sabha's dance wing NAATYARANGA. The 13th Naatya Ranga Annual Thematic Festival was inaugurated on 27th August at Gyanananda Hall Alwarpet. Mr. V. Shankar, President of Mumbai Shanmughananda Sabha and a business magnate felicitated the Dhananjayans and gave away a gold medal, citation and a cheque for rupees ten thousand.

VP Dhananjayan and Shantha Dhananjayan were conferred with the "GURU SRESHTA AWARD", in recognition of their contribution to Indian classical dance, by the Salangai Academy of Indian Classical Arts in Trichy on June 14, 2009.

Cleveland Thyagaraja Aaraadhana committee honored senior artistes with their annual "Rathnaakara" awards. The Dhannajayans received Nritya Rathnaakara on April 11, 2009. They were presented the traditional Veera Sringhala (bracelets) by Cleveland Sundaram & Toronto Venkatraman. The other awardees were M.S.Gopalakrishnan (violin maestro), Parasala Ponnamma (veteran Sangeeta Aachaaryaa).

Shanta & Dhananjayan decorated with the honor PADMA BHUSHAN
The Dhananjayans received the Padma Bhushan Award from President Pratibha Patil at the civil investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on March 31, 2009 for development, preservation and propagation of the best of Kalakshetra tradition of Bharatanatyam through their dance academy Bharatakalanjali.

    It is with the utmost humility and great pride that we accept this National award of PADMABHUSHAN on the occasion of the 60th Republic day and we thank the President of India and all the people responsible for selecting us for this coveted honour.

    So far all awards and rewards came in search of us and this was also a bolt from the blue and we profusely thank our Government, especially the Home Ministry. It proves that the selection process do go by merit and credibility.

    Since the award was announced, we have received congratulatory notes and messages from numerous connoisseurs, well-wishers and admirers from around the world. We are really touched by their sincere appreciation, and the love and regards they have in us. We genuinely feel it is their goodwill that has kept us going all this while and thank every one of them from the bottom of our heart for their greetings on this joyous occasion.

    We share the joy with all our students, our admirers all over the globe and dedicate this honour to our alma mater, Kalakshetra. After Smt.Rukminidevi - the founder of Kalakshetra and our mentor in every sense of the term - we are the next ones from Kalakshetra to be honoured with this high National award. So Kalakshetra can be justifiably proud of our achievement in spreading the best traditions we inherited from this temple of art.

    We have always been convinced that we stand in the shadows of our Art (Kaladevi) and all the laurels and glory go to that divine profession that we practice namely Bharatanaatyam. While accepting this award, we are humbled by the greatness of this Art form and would like to offer it at the altar of our learning - Kalakshetra.

33rd National Level Dance Drama Festival in Memory of Smt. Rukminidevi ( Founder Kalakshetra, Chennai), organised by Sri Lalithakala Academy Foundation Mysore, jointly cosponsored by Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University (SVYASA University Bengaluru) honoured Shanta & Dhananjayan with the title and honour of "Lalithakala Ratna".
Sri. BSS Rao the Founder of SLAF is the dynamic force behind this organisation which has been doing yeoman service to our ART AND CULTURE .

In connection with the Republic day celebration "ANBU PAALAM", A Tamizh Magazine edited and published by the great Gandhian and philanthropist Thiru. P.KALYANA SUNDARAM awarded the plaque of honor and gold medal and honoured the Dhananjayans with the title of "LAKSHYA DAMPATHIGAL" ( Ideal couple), recognizing the 40 years of service to art & culture by them through their institution, Bharatakalanjali.

SOORYA INTERNATIONAL, Singapore chapter honored The Dhananjayans with LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD and PLAQUE OF HONOUR on 8th November at Singapore Conference Hall on the occasion of commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society.

Mysore Sri Lalithakala Academy Foundation Trust (Center for performing arts) honoured The Dhananjayans with the prestigious "Rukminidevi Memorial Award" on February 28, 2009.

Padma Sarangapani Ccultural Academy honoured The Dhananjayans with the "Padma Saadhana Award" on January 8, 2009.

The Dhananjayans received the Award of Excellence - Life time achievement award from Kartik Fine Arts on December 27, 2008

On August 30, 2008, monthly music journal Naadhabrahmam honored the Dhananjayans with the "NATANA PRAKAASAM" title at the Music Academy, Chennai, for their contribution to art for over 60 years and to mark 40 years of their dance institution Bharatakalaanjali. This year also marks the 70th birthday of guru V P Dhananjayan. A special edition of Naadhabrahmam was released with focus on the Dhananjayans. A one hour film on the Dhananjayans titled Kalaa Saadhana directed by Radhika Shurajit and Churchill Pandian was screened.

"KALA-VIPANCHEE", title and honour was awarded to Shanta & Dhananjayan by Dr. Balamuralikrishna through the VIPANCHEE Trust founded by Smt.Saraswathi Sundaresan. The award function was held on 31st December 07 at R.K.Swamy Hall, Mylapore.

CENTER FOR MUSIC & DANCE (CMD) ESTD 1984, Thiruvanathapuram announced their 2007 "Kalanidhi award" and honour to The Dhananjayans (Dhananjayan & Shanta) - the Bharatanaatyam couple of Bhaarat.

The Dhananjayans receiving the citation and insignia from Maharaja Marthandavarma Thamburan. The others in the pictures are Prof. Dr.Balamohan Thambi, & Subramaniyan

Lions club of South Madras and Rasa (A charitable organization) jointly honoured Gurus Sri VP Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan with the honor "ARTISTES OF THE YEAR". The award and felicitation function was held on 4th January 07 (Thursday), 6.30 pm at Bapalal Bhavan, 9, 1st Seaward Ave, Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai-41.

BHARAT KALACHAR has honored Shanta & Dhananjayan - the Bharatanaatyam dance couple - with the award and title "VISWAKALA BHARATI" on the inaugural day of their annual December Art festival, 2006. The award carried a silver medal and Rs.10000/- (Ten thousand) cash.

The Dhananjayans were honoured by the International Dance Alliance (IDA) on the occasion of their 20th anniversary celebrations (Aug 2006). At a function organised at the Narada Gana Sabha, they were presented with mementoes and shawls by Leela Sekar, chairperson, IDA, and R. Krishnaswami, sabha secretary. The US Council General Mr. David Hopper presented the award.
S. Sarada, former head of Dance Department, Kalakshetra (sitting) greeting Shantha Dhananjayan

Bharatanatyam guru V P Dhananjayan was honored by the Madras Music Academy at their 78th annual conference and concerts, with the title of SANGEETA KALA ACHAARYA - 4th January 2005.

The Dhananjayans received the prestigious SWATI-RATNA title and award instituted by the Malayalee Club of Madras, for their outstanding contributions to the propagation of the compositions of Maharaja Swati Thirunal. Eminent persons who have been decorated earlier with this coveted award are stalwarts like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, K.S. Narayanaswamy (Veena), K.J.Yesudas, K.R. Kumaraswamy Iyer and P.Leela. - April 2004
Shanta Dhananjayan received the Kala-Sreshta puraskaar from Kaladarpanam publications, Cochi - 2nd october 2003.
Diamond Jubilee Award for Excellence Nrityodaya, Chennai at Dr. Padma Subramanian’s golden jubilee commemorative function - 5th July 2003.
Dr. Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar Award for excellence in Fine Arts (Rs.50,000/- cash award and silver casket contating citiation) for the year 2002 was presented in Chennai by Union Minister for Law Hon.Sri. K.Jana Krishnamurthy - 12th October 2002.
Honour and felicitations at the Silverjubilee celebrations, Nrittanjali School of Dance , Perumbavoor - 25th May 2002.
Todayam (Kathakali club) 10th Anniversary Celebration Committee honoured and felicited the Dhananjayans - 19th May, 2002.
Honour and felicitation by Sarada Krishnayyar Trust and Fine Arts Society, Telicherry to the Dhananjayans - 15th May 2002.
Honour from Bharat Integration Committee in association with Telugu Academy (Madras) - October 2001.
Kaladarpana, a prestigious and popular Kerala Art magazine (Malayalam) has conferred on V.P.Dhananjayan the coveted award Kala-Sreshta after an opinion poll taken among many artists, connoisseurs and readers of the magazine. This title and citation were conferred on him in Ernakulam - 2nd October 2001.
Prathibha Pranaam, Kerala Government’s Manaviyam honour (received along with Nelson Mandela, South Africa) - March 2001.
Natyajyothi from Kapali Fine Arts chennai - January 2001
Nritya Ratna Award from Bhaarateeya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra - October 2000
BHARATAKALAA SAAGARA Award, given by Smt. Sudharani Raghupathi's Bharatalaya. Awarded by actor Shivaji Ganesan - October 18, 1997
Kerala Samajam’s Kalavedhi Award, Chennai -1997
Prathiba Pranamam Award by Govt of Kerala - 1997
Nritya Choodamani Award to Shanta from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha -1995

Kalaimamani Award to Shanta from Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram, Tamilnadu Govt. - November 22, 1995
Sangeet Natak Akademi (Presidential Award) -1994
Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Academy Fellowship -1993

Kalaimamani Award to Dhananjayan from Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram, Tamilnadu Govt. -1990
Haridas Sammelan Sursingar Sansad Mumbai "Nrityavillas" Award -1989
Nritya Choodamani Award for Dhananjayan from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha - Dec 17, 1983
Scroll of Honour Arts and Crafts Magazine, New Delhi awarded by then Vice President Hon. Sri. K R Narayanan
Stree Ratna by Bharata Vidya Bhavan, Chennai and Dr.Padma Subrahmanyam’s Nrityodaya, Chennai, to Shanta for dance

Important Overseas Awards

The Dhananjayans were honoured with the award of excellence and Life time achievement award by the Swami Satchidananda Integral Yoga Society at the Yogaville Naatya Adhyayana Gurukulam Gurupoornima celebrations - July 20, 2013. Their disciples Padma Rasiah and Kannan Rasiah were also felicitated with the award of excellence and Gursevaratna Merit award respectively.

On the 21st, The Dhananjayans were presented with a plaque of honor  for  "LIFELONG ACHIEVEMENT " by the Yogaville, Satchidananda Ashram FINE ARTS SOCIETY during it's silver jubilee celebrations.

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Cleveland Thyagaraja Aaraadhana committee honored senior artistes with their annual 'Rathnaakara' awards. The Dhannajayans received Nritya Rathnaakara on April 11, 2009. They were presented the traditional Veera Sringhala (bracelets) by Cleveland Sundaram & Toronto Venkatraman.

On October 12, 2008, India Fine Arts-Austin (USA) (IFA) honoured and awarded the title of "Nritya Saamsraat" to Dhananjayan and "Nritya Saagara" to Shanta Dhananjayan recognizing their contribution to the preservation, popularization and propogation of Indian Arts and culture in North America for the last four decades.

Swami Asokananda (President) and Swami Karunananda (Vice-President) conferred the distinguished honors of Integral Yoga International’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the title of “Satchidananda Natya Choodamani” upon the legendary Bharata Natyam couple of Chennai, Sri V.P. and Smt. Shanta Dhanajayan on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Natya Adyayana Gurukulam of the Fine Arts Society of Yogaville.
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The award and title were conferred upon The Dhananjayans in recognition of a lifetime as exemplars of the ideals of Discipline, Devotion and Dedication; for serving as cultural ambassadors from Bharata Varsha to the U.S.A. and throughout the world as masters of the spiritual art form of Bharata Natyam; and as outstanding artistes and educators planting seeds of inspiration, culture and hope for future generations.”
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The award carries an insignia and medal. Swamijee's blessing is bestowed on specially selected few by lifting them. (Swamijee is internationally famous for using his Yogic power of concentration to lift any weight, including aeroplanes and elephants). He very casually lifted both of us jointly weighing 300 pounds.

The Dhananjayans were honoured and felicitated by the Indian Association of San Antonio and Natyanjali Festival 06 San Antonio (USA) with the title and honour of NATYAACHARYA on November 11, 2006 at Carver Centre for Performing Arts.
American Association of Indian Dance jointly with Arti School of Indian dance, San Antonio (USA instituted an annual award and honour for an overseas artist who has contributed to the over all development and propagation of Indian classical performing arts and culture in North America.

The first award was given to V.P.Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan (The Dhananjayans of Chennai) for their life time contribution to the Indian dance in the USA. This surprise announcement was made on the inaugural of the three days National Asian Indian Dance Convention 2003 held in San Antonio on 18, 19 and 20th July 2003 at the UTSA recital Hall of the University of Texas. Mr. Dhananjayan received this prestigious and glorious award from Smt.Chitra Visweswaran, while the selected invitees gathered in the hall, gave standing ovation and cheered them with loud applause. A beautifully designed crystal plaque reads thus:

"This NATYA award - a life time contribution to Indian dance in USA by an overseas person presented to V.P.Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan, Bharatakalanjali, Chennai on 18th July 2003."
Life Magazine Achievement Award (Ohio State Academy Award) - 1997.
Best Theatrical Production of the year '96-97 for Jungle Book dance choreography to Ohio Ballet Company.
Plaque of Honour awarded by the Governor of Ohio State for excellent Community Service and International Understanding through Art –1996.
Munshi Centenary Commemorative Award, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London UK - 1988.
UNESCO Paris, Medallion De Merit -1984.
‘Natya Ratnakara' by The India Fine Arts in Austin, Texas.

The important positions held by V P Dhananjayan
V.P.Dhananjayan has been appointed as the DEAN of the Performing Arts Section of the age old ANNAMALAI UNIVERSITY, Chidambaram, Tamizhnaadu.

Shanta Dhananjayan is appointed as Hon head of the Faculty.
Central Sangeet Natak Akademi - General Council Member for five years.
General council member Tamilnadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram.
Executive members of the Institute of Traditional South East Asian Studies, University of Madras.
Member of the Selection Board Committee, Khairaghad University, Madhya Pradesh.
Founder and Hon Secretary for the Association of Bharatanatyam Artists of India (ABHAI).
President of Abhai for two terms.
Executive member of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai Kendra.
Member of the Selection Board, University of Hyderabad.
Executive member of the Calicut University, Performing Arts Faculty.
Board member of the Annamalai University, Chidambaram, Fine Arts wing.

Shanta Dhananjayan is one of Trustee members of the Sitar maestro Pt.Ravi Shankar Center for Performing Arts, New Delhi.

The Dhananjayans are Patrons and serve in the advisory committee of several cultural organizations in the country.

- Photo Album