Jahnavi is a student of Kuchipudi and a dancer at Kalamandapam, Fairfax, VA. She learns from Guru Mrinalini Sadananda and guru Kavitha Cheedalla.

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1, How old are you and what do you do? (grade/school/college)

I am 18 years old and I am a senior at Fairfax High School. I plan on attending the University of Virginia next year. 

2. When did you start dancing and who are your gurus?

I first started dancing Bharatnatyam at the age of 4 with Guru Akhila Subramanyam. Then, I joined Kalamandapam at the age of 6 with Guru Mrinalini Sadananda and Guru Kavitha Cheedalla. 

3. How do you prep for a dance performance?

I watch the video of the dance multiple times so that I understand the taalam and  expressions. Afterwards, I practice the song to perfect the steps. Then, I ask my parents to watch and assess my expressions and point out any areas for improvement. 

4. What’s your favorite dance item or music piece you listen to when you want to connect to dance?

One of my all time favorite dances is Brindavana nilaye about Lord Krishna. I’ve performed that song many times but I never get tired of it because it is such a beautiful and expressive dance.

5. How would you describe an amazing dancer and do you have any inspiring role models?

An amazing dancer is someone who mesmerizes the audience and grabs their attention with his or her’s expressions and perfect execution of the steps. This is a result of countless hours of practice and dedication to the dance. My role models are my parents. They are my support system and without their constant motivation, I would not be the dancer I am today. 

6. How has dancing helped you in other areas? School, friendships and other?

use dance as an outlet to relax whenever I am stressed with school or anything else. In school, I am an Indian Student Association officer and every year, we perform dance in the International Festival. Having Kuchipudi as a basis, I have been able to also learn different types of dance such a Manipuri, Odissi, and Bollywood. By participating in these shows, I have been able to gain many new friends whom I have known since I was 6 or just last week.

My biggest achievement in dance has to be having the wonderful opportunity to perform at The Kennedy Center and The Pentagon. Dance has enabled me to be free and express myself. I feel that moment of satisfaction in dance everytime I successfully finish learning and performing a dance, showcasing what I have worked hard for.

7. In your eyes, what’s your biggest achievement or moment of satisfaction (in dance)?

By 2024, I will have graduated and have my bachelor’s and hopefully be in medical school. In college, I hope to join a dance team to further continue my dance journey. If I am in medical school in 2024, then that must be very stressful so I will still be practicing dance. As an aspiring pediatrician and avid dancer, I love working with children and teaching dance. So in 2024, I can also see myself coming back to Kalamandapam and teaching again.

8. It’s the year 2024 – where do you see yourself in the dance field? 

By 2024, I will have graduated and have my bachelor’s and hopefully be in medical school. In college, I hope to join a dance team to further continue my dance journey. If I am in medical school in 2024, then that must be very stressful so I will still be practicing dance. As an aspiring pediatrician and avid dancer, I love working with children and teaching dance. So in 2024, I can also see myself coming back to Kalamandapam and teaching again.

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Published by Tandavam Events

A dance event company in Northern VA, focusing on Indian Classical Arts. Focusing on outreach and raising the bar within the field.

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