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Some valuable words from my students, their parents and other dance teachers.

  1. We are the parents of Mahathi and Pragati. Our kids have been learning Bharatanatyam for three years from may 2020 under Dhanalakshmi mam’s tutelage. As we reside in the Netherlands, our kids learn through online sessions. But not once have we felt that the sessions are not up to the mark. In fact, after the completion of Adavus, she immediately started teaching items. In a few months, our daughters will be performing their Salangai Poojai. We are happy they got a tremendously enthusiastic and passionate dance teacher like her. She is very friendly and a motivator to the kids. Our children look forward to attending her sessions with great zeal.
    – Mrs Panimalar & Mr Sivakumar, The Netherlands.
  2. As a kid, I was extremely enthusiastic about dance. However, I could learn the art form only for five years. I had to discontinue owing to my studies. Though I had finished learning all the Adavus extensively, whenever I saw anyone perform, my yearning to learn Bharatanatyam increased manyfold. It was only after the lockdown that I took the stand to start pursuing the art form that I love the most again. Since I am in my late twenties, I was sceptical if any teacher would be willing to accept me as a student. Around the same time, I came to know that Dhana, my friend during my school days as a child, was taking classes. I immediately approached her and she was more than happy to take online sessions for me.

    It was an eye-opener for me that, one could learn dance so effectively online. She perfectly matches one’s speed of learning. Generally, it isn’t the norm to learn many Abhinaya and Nritta-based items within months. However, she was determined to give me a personalised schedule and taught me so many items with precision. I feel extremely lucky to call her my Guru. In fact, I promise to commit myself to the art form, learn as much as possible and walk on the path my teacher has shown me.

    – Manisha Sekar, Vellore.
  3. Our daughter Thanmathi has been learning Bharatanatyam under the guidance of Dhanalakshmi and her sister Sruthi. We were totally unaware of the nuances of the dance form, and generally anything about Bharatanatyam. However, once our daughter started attending the sessions, we realised what a vast ocean Bharatanatyam is and how much intensive studies have been done in the field. We feel pumped up to motivate our daughter to research more in the field and learn more. Moreover, they gel with the student’s wavelength. And our daughter is adamant that she wants to learn only from them. It’s not only the kids, but the parents too who like them a lot as a teacher.
    – Mrs Geetha and Mr Anbu mazhavarayar, Chennai.
  4. I am the Artistic Director of Sri Lakshmi Nrithyalaya, Kanchipuram. It was only after my Arangetram under the guidance of Dr Dhanalakshmi Balamanigandan that I started learning from Dhana Akka. I have been learning the Dandayudapani Pillai style from her for the past four years from April 2019. Apart from the twelve sets of Adavus, she has painstakingly taught me to play the same on Tattukali and Nattuvangam. I have never seen any teacher providing notations for doing Nattuvangam step by step for any dance item. For example, while learning the Thillana, not only did she teach dance, make me bi heart the whole song, teach me to play it on Tattukali and Nattuvangam and provided notations for Adavus but also provided the notation for doing Nattuvangam for the whole song. It’s like providing a very in-depth segregation of the entire composition.

    While teaching Adavus too, she will make it a point to demonstrate the various variants and combinations of the same, along with the guru’s name and style. That is the amount of precision she has in her work. From minute technical details to performing a complete Margam, she helps you extensively.

    With her guidance, I have successfully conducted an Arangetram for my students and am presently guiding another batch of students to perform the same. There are no words to describe her expertise and dedication to the art. I wish that her work expands manyfold and she is able to make a mark in the field of dance.

    – Priyadarshini Srinivasan, Kanchipuram.

  5. I came across an advertisement in the Indian Classical Dance Association for Nattuvangam. I immediately joined Dhanalakshmi Akka’s institute for the same. She is one of the most humble person I have come across. She insisted that I should not call her mam, only Akka. Her nattuvangam course is advanced and fairly comprehensive. Her syllabus includes an ample number of exercises in basic nattuvangam, Sapta Thalas to Pratilomam and Anulomam. Since the whole subject of Thalam delves into mathematical calculations, I would sometimes self-doubt. However, she will always motivate me and boost my confidence.

    Dhana Akka is extremely patient and will make it a point that you understand the concepts. When I informed her that I was inaugurating a dance institute, she was more than happy to help. Also, when I started with the Arangetram practice for one of my students, she was kind enough to help me with the whole Margam. She gave me many choices of songs to choose from depending on the difficulty level. Presently, I am learning a complete margam from her and realised how much importance she gives to crediting the choreographers or composers. She has been a great source of knowledge. Infact, I would say she is like an encyclopedia of dance to me.

    – Kanakasri V, Chennai.
  6. Dance teacher Dhanalakshmi is friendly and has a mix of nice approach and patience to teach dance to younger kids like my daughter who is just 5. She learns to dance through online mode in The Netherlands.

    The teacher encourages and develops nice bonding with the kids and also challenges time to time so they learn the nuances quickly. We are lucky to have found such a nice dance teacher and we recommend her with no second thoughts.

    – Mrs Priyadharshini & Mr Jeevanantham, The Netherlands.
  7. I am the founder/director and teacher of the Bharatanatyam wing of Sri Satya Sai Bharatanatya Isai Palli, Kanchipuram. I could endlessly talk and praise Dhanalakshmi, she has that lasting positive effect on her students and peers. I first met her at Tamil Isai Kallori where we both were pursuing our higher studies in Bharatanatyam. Our association did not stop after that. With her immense knowledge, she has been guiding me ever since. She has deep knowledge of the technicalities, nuances and theory of dance. And I believe it’s a gift that she can selflessly share her knowledge with others. It is imperative that dancers update their understanding of the art with time. I am fortunate enough to have learnt the same from Dhanalakshmi. As a teacher, she is extremely patient and solves our doubts repeatedly too. As a person, she is the most kind person I have encountered and is very passionate about her art.

    – Bhavani C K, Kanchipuram.

  8. I am presently pursuing my third-year degree. I started learning from Dhana Akka, in June 2020. It is going to be nearly 3 years of educational bliss. During the lockdown, I joined her institute to learn nattuvangam. At that time, the only thing on my mind was to utilize the lockdown time at home. Initially, I was sceptical about online sessions, however within the first class itself my doubts were cleared. Dhana Akka has proved to be extremely efficient in online sessions too. Since I had 15 years of practical training, I wanted to extend my knowledge through nattuvangam learning. However, it is due to Dhana Akka that I understood that Nattuvangam can be pursued separately too. She has the ability to tap her student’s potential and mould it brilliantly. Later, I enrolled myself to her regular Bharatanatyam classes too. She does perfect justice to the time and money invested by her students. As a teacher, she is patient, friendly, responsible and very comfortable to approach. I am grateful for her guidance and assure that I will always consult her in my future endeavours and be an active part of her institute.

    – Ashwini D K, Vellore

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