Kuchipudi Dancer: Bhavana Channavajjala

Bhavana has grown up in the Northern VA region and now attends University of Virginia. I’ve known her since she was a child, and she has always shown passion for learning dance. We are thrilled to showcase her. Read on!

  1. Introduce yourself:

My name is Bhavana and I’m in my final semester of college at the University of Virginia, where I’m pursuing a degree in Systems Engineering. I’ve loved living in Charlottesville for the last 4 years and I’m excited for where my journey takes me next!

2. When did you start dancing and training for classical?

I began learning Kuchipudi from Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda at age 4 and have been a student of the art form since.

3. Who are your gurus?

My guru is Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda, founder of Kalamandapam. I joined Kalamandapam in the summer of 2002 and have since been connected with the school. I have also learned from visiting gurus such as: Guru Pasumarthy Vittal, Guru Smt. Sathyapriya Ramana, Kala Ratna Smt. Bala Kondala Rao, Guru Devarakonda Srinivas, and Sri Anukula Aditya, among others.

4. Why do you love dancing so much? Was it always the case?

I always have a song stuck in my head, and dance is just my natural reaction to it. I love that I can express the complexities of music using just my body. Dance can be as personal as it is communal and I’ve enjoyed the joy and release it brings for as long as I can remember.

5. How have you evolved as a dancer?

I have been fortunate to receive wonderful training from my Guru Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda and many other brilliant visiting gurus. I have found that every guru has something to offer and that an artist grows by learning from the expertise of other artists. By being around dance experts and talented individuals, I continue to hone my skill and find my identity as a dancer.

6. Notable performances or accomplishments

I completed Nrithya Sambhavanas (Rangapravesam) both in India and in the United States and have also performed at the John F. Kennedy Center, the Indo-American Federation, and other cultural venues. I was also an Indian Raga Fellow in 2019, through which I collaborated on four pieces with other artists. I am currently the captain of UVA’s Indian Classical dance team, Sitaare, and regularly coordinate performances for our student body.

7. How do you see yourself in 5 years time with respect to dance?

In five years I hope to be performing in the US and abroad, and I’d like to continue collaborating with other artists. I would also like to study Kuchipudi theory in more depth, and will hopefully be imparting that knowledge to younger students.

8. What’s your advice for aspiring dance students?

My advice for aspiring dance students is to keep an open mind. Our dance vocabulary can be enhanced by learning other dance genres, watching other artists, experiencing different cultures, etc. This helps us stay creative and appreciate the power of dance even more!


Bhavana can be followed on her social media accounts, on Instagram and Facebook


Like the showcases? Check the other teachers’ and students’ here. 

Author: tandavam