Our Name

Our school name, Sarvavidya Natyaalaya is derived from the 1008 names of Shakti, that is, Sarvavidyamayi. Sarva meaning everything or all and vidya meaning knowledge, thus in this form she is the goddess who encompasses all forms of knowledge. It is this level of knowledge and teaching that we strive towards, where we are able to teach not only dance, but also music, language and visual art. We dedicate all our teaching to the great masculine and feminine energies of the universe. The celestial coupling of the dormant Shiva consciousness and the power and energy of Shakti is one that creates the subtle and harmonious balance within the universe. With this in mind, we aim to connect to these aspects of divinity through the expression of dance.

Sarvavidya Natyaalaya (SVN), a nonprofit dance organisation based in Gauteng, South Africa, was co-founded by Anusha Pillay, Reshma Chhiba and Panna Dulabh in 2010. The mission of the school is to promote Indian art and culture within contemporary South Africa. Its founders studied under the tutelage of Smt. Satya Bhama, disciple of Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale, and daughter of Smt. Kamala rani, both of Kalakshetra. 



Who are we?

Three wildly passionate feminist dancers, artists and spiritual gangsters who love all things dance, music, art, spirituality and activism. We come from a long legacy of classical Bharatanatyam training, which is steeped in a tradition within which we aim to innovate, to carve our own path in this wonderful madness called dance. We are passionate about womanhood, education, healing and saving our planet!

What do we do?

We do yoga. We meditate. We DANCE. We play with rhythm.  We activate space and minds. We listen, we learn, we teach. And we do a whole lot of lunges, planks, jumps and stretches - pushing our bodies, minds and creativity to new limits with every beat forward.

What is our mission?

To teach, expand, uplift and sometimes even disrupt “Indian” art and culture within contemporary South Africa. To use dance as a voice of activation and activism. To spark ideas and creative outbursts in the minds of younger humans. To create a world filled with more people who enjoy and appreciate that arts, who are curious, compassionate and caring. To teach ‘outside the box’ creative thinking and use dance as a catalyst for positive change.

What is our dream?

A Place. To become a creative institution that flourishes into a holistic learning centre, filled with dance, music, visual arts, poetry and literature. A place where the arts are understood and practiced as daily sadhana, as complete oneness with the body, mind and spirit. We dream of a campus that is the home of such an institution, one that is filled with many creative practitioners, both local and international, who teach, learn, perform, reflect and create in absolute rhythm with the universe.




“It will be our greatest hope to know that in its own humble way this foundation will make more beautiful, more artistic, the lives of all – that in the education of the young and old, creative reverence for that spirit of the beautiful which knows no distinction of race, nation or faith has a pre-eminent place, that ugliness will begin to depart from daily life, whether in the home or in the earning of livelihood, that leisure will find decreasing satisfaction in the crude and vulgar and that the whole world will slowly turn away from those barbarisms of war, of greed and of cruelty which still challenge its right to be called civilized.” Rukmini Devi Arundale, Kalakshetra

Copyright Sarvavidya Natyaalaya © 2010

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