SwarnaSaroja celebrations to be held each month till grand finale in September

Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan

In 2023, Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan planned a year’s worth of events and activities to mark the grand celebrations of 50 years of her Ganesa Natyalaya in Delhi in 2024. Tragically, the Padma Bhushan awardee succumbed to cancer on 21 September 2023, robbing the world of dance of her light.

In her memory, the Ganesa Natyalaya golden jubilee celebrations were named SwarnaSaroja and the first event to pay tribute to the great guru and celebrate SwarnaSaroja was the Natya Kala Conference, held in Chennai in December 2023 and curated by her daughter-in-law, Rama Vaidyanathan. The next event celebrating SwarnaSaroja is Rama’s recital for the India International Centre’s annual day today, on 22 January 2024, at 6.30 pm.

Rama elaborated on the plan for the activities throughout the year, many of which will take place at the Ganesa Natyalaya’s auditorium in Qutub Institutional Area, Delhi. ‘Throughout the year, we are going to have performances by several artists from Ganesa Natyalaya, dancers whom Amma has groomed – not just those living in Delhi and India but also those living outside India. It will be a coming together of the whole Ganesa Natyalaya community, whose lives and dance were touched by Saroja Amma,’ she said.

‘We will have their performances periodically, each month. We will also be inviting the senior artists with whom she collaborated, like Geetanjali Lal, Ranjana Gauhar, Shovana Narayan, Uma Dogra… We will invite all of them to present a performance in memory of Saroja Amma. That’s another thing on the agenda.

‘There will be one mega event in September, which is her birth month – she was born 19 September – which will be held in a big auditorium in Delhi. All the other events will be in the Ganesa Natyalaya premises, we have a little theatre there.

‘Apart from performances, we will also hold seminars, talks, discussions etc. Natya Kala Conference was the first event in this series, celebrating SwarnaSaroja, and was in memory of Saroja Amma.’

When asked whether they had altered any plans for the golden jubilee celebrations after Guruji’s demise, Rama said, ‘Actually, we want to go ahead with all the plans exactly the way we had planned it with her when she was alive, because we feel that is the best tribute we can give her – she had planned all this. We are only executing her plan.’