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 organisation based in Gauteng, South Africa, was co-founded by Anusha Pillay, Reshma Chhiba and Panna Bhaga 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, Kalakshetra. While we specialize in Bharata Natyam it is our hope that the institution will eventually flourish into a holistic learning centre, which incorporates all aspects of creativity that includes dance, music, visual arts, and at the same time be steeped in spirituality through yoga, meditation and the study of Hindu mythology. Our hope is that even if students do not go on to pursue the arts, that we make some contribution in creating a society that is refined and appreciative of the intricacies of ancient Indian arts and spirituality.


“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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