Combining the best of both Eastern and Western teaching methods, I hope to instill in the students a love for dance. The students start in small groups learning the basics – posture, movements, rhythms, gestures from my able staff members under my continuous supervision. As they mature in age and technique, I personally groom them further in developing a deeper understanding of the dance form and enhancing their performance by working on – grace, endurance, sensitivity and presentation. While audio or video tools may be supplementary, I believe in a one – on – one approach much like the oral and visual learning that is the hallmark of my ‘tradition’. – Ramya
Arpana means ‘offering’ in Sanskrit and it is with this spirit of offering dance to the Divine that the school began. Since humble beginnings in 1982, Ramya Harishankar has personally trained several 100 students in this rigorous art form with more than 150 of them ‘graduating’ and performing their dance debut or Arangetram. The teaching follows much in the pattern of the ‘Guru-Shishya’ tradition of yore. The students are not mere enrolees in the school but develop a personal relationship with their teacher over the years, learning many intricacies of the dance form, performance techniques and cultural awareness. Through her school, Ramya has helped build artistic sensitivity, appreciation and understanding of cultural traditions in the community. Her students also acquired physical and mental discipline, strength of character and personalities that have held them in good stead through their high school, college and working careers. Many continue to be a part of the Arpana Dance Company post Arangetram and some have become torchbearers of the form.
“I believe learning a performing art and achieving a certain amount of proficiency requires regular attendance, a good practice schedule, exposure to all dance forms/ dancers, family support, self motivation and an intelligent approach. Even though it may be only an extracurricular activity for many students, the art form itself is no less than any other art or science, requiring years of dedicated mental and physical work. It is a life long journey of growth and learning.” – Ramya