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CANDID WITH SARVANI YADAVALLI

Sarvani Yadavalli is an epitome of dance coupled with dedication and talent. An avid Kuchipudi dance artiste, her artistic journey involves delving deep into different dimensions of dance making it reach the audiences with simplistic and convincing messages. Strong training from gurus, collaboration with artists of other genres from different geographies and her vast experience in the corporate world helps her visualize the art form from a different perspective. An ICCR empaneled artist, she toured many countries performing and conducting workshops. She started Sahasra Fine Arts and intends to give back her knowledge and skills to the next generations.


1. An engineer by default but a classical artiste by profession, how difficult it was for you to shift from degree to passion? For me, both engineering and dance mostly went side by side. There was a time when I wanted to dedicate more time to dancing. I struggled for two long years to make the decision to quit a well-paying job and shift to dancing full time. I approached many people to take advice on whether to leave a job and take dance full time. Many people seeing my pedigree from Bits, Pilani advised me not to leave the job and run both jobs and dancing together. But, I felt I needed to invest more time to dancing at that stage of life and quit my job. It was a very tough decision to leave a very stable job. But the passion for art and support from family never let me feel low. I always was inspired to invest my time in various aspects of dancing like lights, sounds, makeup, costuming, organizing etc. I am blessed with opportunities to take my work to different places in the world. 


2. Anxiety and confidence issues are common problems faced by youngsters what were your fear factors and how did you overcome them? A. Show going as per plan: I come from a family of people with very little dance knowledge. As a performer I am confident but during the show, I am reliant on my support staff - my husband, family, friends - and as I told all of them had limited knowledge in dance, lights, sound, etc., In one of my initial shows, where I was performing to the recorded music, the invocation dance item swapped with the conclusion piece. That proved to be a big learning experience for me, I started to do a long lead planning which I wasn't earlier. And during this process, I actually gained a deeper understanding of how to manage a full dance show. In the show that I organized/choreographed - Krama -  in the UK while I was 8 months pregnant, it was my friends and family who managed the whole show, while I could concentrate my efforts on choreography.  B. Another thing that worried me was approaching organizers/organizations for a dance opportunity. I didn't have any manager or guidance in approaching people for performance opportunities. I struggled in explaining my dancing skills, abilities to the appropriate level. As a result, I missed out on securing some performances, people not considering me as a serious dancer, etc., Again, here I grew in confidence by being diligent - make a notebook on whom I approached, questions asked and capturing their feedback after every meeting. This way I was better prepared for meeting organizers, represented my skills and abilities with confidence and most importantly I developed the art of letting things be when they are beyond my control.  3. How do you think today's youngsters should be motivated to chase them their dream and passion? Youngsters should be motivated by providing them a positive and fair environment. Coming specifically to dancing, there should be a more transparent and organized system so that information is provided/available freely and accurately.  4. Who is your role model? And Why? My role model is my guru- Padmasri Dr. Sobha Naidu. She had a goal and had a complete focus to achieve the goal. She dedicated her life to dancing and undergone so many sacrifices to keep up to the goal she had. Her dedication to art and her capability to transform the audience to a different world is what I see in her as a role model.


5. Throughout your journey of presenting classical dance form to the niches of the world what is the real motive into it? Is your motive being served till date? I see dance as a medium, a method of communication. The real motive of presenting Indian classical dance form to the niches of the world is to spread the beauty of this rich Indian classical dance form and to stand as an ambassador to India's rich culture. All my presentations are based on Indian epics and I spend a lot of time decoding the hidden messages that are present in our ancient texts. I use dance as a medium to spread positive messages to achieve harmony and understanding among people of different cultures. I seek to learn the message our ancient texts imbibe and explain in my productions the relevance of the messages to the present-day world. This actually makes the audience connect with the dancer as the performances will ultimately deal with the morals to be followed. I have many examples wherein the audience came after the show and asked me several questions and it indeed gives me happiness to explain them a bit more than what I could convey onstage. These discussions with the audience and the feedback from them make me feel that my motive is being served till date.  5. One last thing that you want to share from your experience. Whatever may be the difficulty, never stop trying.  Be patient and keep working towards your goal. 

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