Renjith & Vijna
Renjith & Vijna
One of the most sought after young Bharatanatyam duo, trained under eminent Gurus in Kalakshetra style; Renjith and Vijna, have been performing, choreographing and teaching for the past two decades. Their mission as practitioners of Bharatanatyam is to extend the boundaries of Indian traditional dance and create a new benchmark in the aesthetics of presentation by using innovative dance techniques. They strive to inculcate a higher quality in their performances that inspires, entertains and educates a diverse audience. They have travelled extensively and have performed in India, Europe, USA, Canada, Middle East and South-East Asia. Some of their notable performances have been at Madras Music Academy’s Annual Dance Festival, The Darbar Dance Festival in London, Soorya Dance Festival, Kerala Sangeeta NatakaAkademi, Nishagandhi Festival.
Their collaborative works include ‘TARU’ of Korzo Theatre, in The Hague which was co-supported by Jiri Kylian Foundation and ‘HISTOIRES VRAIES’, choreographed by French Contemporary Dancer, Cécile Loyer, for the Tamil Nadu Government and Theatre D’Orleans. The duo have been recognised with the ‘NatyaRatna’ from Trinity Arts Festival, Chennai, in 2017 and the prestigious 'Ustad Bismillah Khan YuvaPuraskar' for 2018 by The Sangeet NatakAkademi, New Delhi, for Bharatanatyam. Known for their nuanced dancing, inspiring workshops and collaborations with leading dancers, choreographers and musicians, the couple works together as creative partners in moulding complete individuals through their brainchild: Sāraswatham Foundation. They are undoubtedly a perfect couple in the younger generation of prominent ‘Dance Duos’ in India, representing the élan that signifies the principle of Shakti and Shiva in spiritual parlance.
An artiste who exemplifies the best in Bharatanatyam, yoga, and martial arts; Renjith Babu combines his artistic excellence with a scientific understanding of the human body and its movements. The perfection and stylistic accessibility of his performances are extolled not just by critics and connoisseurs, but also by audiences uninitiated with the finer points of the dance form.
He started his training at the age of 5, under the tutelage of Smt. Prasanna Prakash (Kerala, India) and later he joined the world renowned Kalakshetra (Chennai, India) where he acquired his dance diploma in the year 2000. He began his advanced training under the veteran Guru Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar and continues till date. He has studied abhinaya in the ‘Navarasa Sadhana’ - Phase 1, acting methodology developed by Kathakali and Kudiyattam artist, Sri. G Venu.
Renjith has been featured as the principal dancer in acclaimed dance productions of senior gurus including Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar and The Dhananjayans to name a few. His collaborations with leading artists have also resulted in the creation of some very widely appreciated productions.
Renjith’s expertise has been enlisted by several dance schools in India, Australia and the United States where he has conducted both Bharatanatyam and Yoga classes. His ability to teach the nuances of Bharatanatyam, Theory and Nattuvangam makes him one of the most sought after teachers in the field. An imaginative and vivid choreographer, Renjith’s creative works have received accolades the world over among the Indian and International Dance Diaspora.
Gifted with fluid grace, an innate sense of rhythm and a vibrant sense of expression, Vijna was formally initiated into the world of Bharatanatyam at the young age of three and a half years.
Vijna commenced her training in Bharatanatyam under Smt. Sujatha Chandramohan (disciple of Adyar K.Lakshmanan) in Muscat, Oman. In 1996, she came under the tutelage of the world-renowned dancers, The Dhananjayans at Bharata Kalanjali, Chennai. Since 2011, she has been under the able guidance of Veteran Bharatanatyam artiste, Guru Prof. C.V.Chandrasekhar. She is trained in abhinaya by Smt. Indira Kadambi and in the ‘Navarasa Sadhana’ - Phase 1, acting methodology developed by Kathakali and Kudiyattam artist, Sri. G Venu.
Entranced by this dance form as a little girl, Vijna has followed her calling with single-minded vision, rigorous training and above all, a passion for the craft. Today, she is an accomplished danseuse of the Kalakshetra Bani and has been enthralling audiences both in India and abroad.
Vijna, an empanelled artiste of ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations), has given several solo performances at premier dance festivals and venues across the globe. Her repertoire of performances also includes many group recitals and dance productions. Her lucid expressions and talent have earned her acclaim from several critics. Good command over rhythm, great felicity of expression and pleasing stage presence are her forte. What began as a childhood fascination has matured into a lifelong quest for Vijna to seek the essence of Bharatanatyam as embodied in the play of Bhava, Raga and Thala.
Renjith and Vijna are two dedicated dancers who have come together on stage after their becoming life partners. They both come from the Kalakshetra tradition of Bharatanatyam. Renjith, a Kalakshetra alumnus, has been under my tutelage since 2000. Vijna has been trained by ‘The Dhananjayans’ since 1996. Their intelligence, acumen, creativity and sincerity have in a short time brought laurels, name and fame as excellent dancers and devoted teachers. Sāraswatham, their dance school has already taken off with a bang. Travelling around the globe as choreographers and dancers, Renjith and Vijna have earned a name for themselves and also have made their teachers proud.
Prof. C.V.Chandrasekhar & Jaya Chandrasekhar
Through a complex interweaving of narrative with exquisite dance technique, Renjith Babu and Vijna Vasudevan create richly textured and deeply emotional theatrical presentations.
Artistic Director, Rangoli Foundation for Art & Culture
The Bharatanaatyam couple - Renjith and Vijna are yet another brilliant couple dancers. With proper encouragement and support they have potential to make a mark in the performing art field. Renjith with sound training from Kalakshetra and further fine tuning from a stalwart like Prof. C.V.Chandrasekhar is certainly a "man dancer to be watched". Vijna one of our prime disciples from the portals of Bharatakalaanjali already made a mark among the solo Bharatanaatyam dancers.
The Dhananjayans (Dhananjayan & Shanta)
It has been my enormous pleasure over these years to be a part of the artistic journey of Renjith and Vijna. I work with them closely, coaching them and most recently have started to make work for them. Their technique is of course, undoubtedly stunning. It reflects their deep study of movement but also demonstrates two artists who have within them a backbone of rigour instilled in them by their Gurus. But what sets them apart, is their temperament: a single minded perseverance to search, delve and explore so that individually and as a partnership they are continuously pushing beyond their comfort zones. In doing so, they are redefining the framework of duet dancing in Bharata Natyam…perhaps, one could say by truly exploring the concept of partner work in choreography. To work with them is a joy because of the humility by which they enter the creative process. This embodied humility is something that transcends the physical action of movement and choreography. It marks an energy that is tangible marking them as artists to follow with commitment.