Anvi Prabhu
'‘Kuchipudi is named after the village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh named Kuchipudi, the shortened form of the full name Kuchelapuram or Kuchilapuri, where it was developed. The history of Kuchipudi dance can be traced to 1st century B.C, according to the ancient Sanskrit text Natya Shastra. It is rooted in the dance-drama tradition, with several dancers taking different roles, employing the three forms of Abhinaya – Nritta (rhythmic dance movements), Nritya (depicting a story through facial expressions & body movements) and Natya (combination of Nritta & Nritya).’

Anvi talks to Archna patel, who is an advanced student of Kuchipudi at The Bhavan, learning the art form under our teacher Arunima Kumar.
1. What inspired you to pursue Kuchipudi?
It was my mother’s dream that I learnt an Indian classical dance form. Living in Kenya back then, there were not many teachers around. When we came across my first Guruji, Miss Rashmita Shah who had just completed her training in India, my mother chose to enroll me in her classes. That’s where it all began for me.

2.Why did you choose to train at The Bhavan and how has been your experience so far?
Whilst at university in London, I was living on my own, away from my family. I felt very disconnected with my culture. During that time when I first came to see the Bhavan, I fell in love with all the different Indian arts that were being taught there and I wanted to be a part of it.

3.What challenges have you faced and overcome as a dance student and performer?
Once I moved to The UK, I wanted to continue with further training in Kuchipudi. However, it was not very well known at the time and it was hard to find a teacher in that field. For that reason, I joined Bharatanatyam classes at The Bhavan. It was many years later that I met Arunima Kumar, who is currently my Guruji.

4.Tell us a bit more about yourself; your hobbies, your interests, etc.
I am a Dental surgeon by profession and currently working as a general practitioner. I love to cook, read, and travel. I love animals. I am also a mother of 2 children. Life gets quite busy trying to balance children and work whilst also pursuing my passion for Indian dance.

5.Sounds great! Do share some of your achievements and proud moments as a dancer with us!
I have been learning Kuchipudi with Arunima Kumar, who is my Guru at The Bhavan. I am proud to have been given the opportunity to perform with her at Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Wembley stadium, among many other magical venues in the UK and abroad.

6.As a dancer/performer, do you follow any regular fitness routines or diets?
I am very dedicated to my regular Kuchipudi class at The Bhavan on Tuesdays. Besides that, I make time to practice on my own at home. I don’t follow any particular diet but I believe it’s all about a balanced intake.

7.How do you see yourself growing and exploring more as a dancer in the future? Do you want to teach or perform more?
I am still a student of the art form and I am enjoying the challenges and the journey. Teaching is certainly a path I would consider pursuing in the future.

8. As an advanced student, what would be your advice to a beginner who is thinking of starting Kuchipudi training?
I would highly recommend Kuchipudi to anyone thinking of it as it is a very versatile dance form. It’s a fast and energetic form, and leaves you wanting more and more. Kuchipudi has really established its name from the small village it originated originated from, to worldwide platforms today.
Kuchipudi is taught every Tuesday at The Bhavan.

We offer Foundation and Advanced levels. Our teacher for Kuchipudi, Arunima Kumar, says, “I dance and teach Kuchipudi because though my form and body – I tell timeless stories , stories of tradition and stories of today , I belong and connect with people across the world through a language that we create and share in that surreal performance space , I heal and I provoke and question what’s not right , and most importantly- Through it I pray . Dance is my home , my peace , my love and my life.”
For further information about the classes and enrollment, please contact The Bhavan on 020 7381 3086