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Atlanta’s Charismatic Dancer and Poet Pallavi Patel

By: Mahadev Desai

Atlanta resident Pallavi Patel is a well-known and admired artist in the community, who regales the audiences at different venues with her scintillating dances and poetry recitations.
Pallavi , who is modest, soft spoken is graced with beauty, multi-faceted talent, and zest. She was born in Baroda, Gujarat,in 1943, on an auspicious Dhuleti day (Holi festival of colors). Her name Pallavi means (a creeper in full bloom with new tender leaves!). Being the only child, she was pampered and loved by all the family members. Dancing was in her genes and at the age of four, she began dancing as soon as her father played HMV records in their home.

Pallavi studied in Mumbai, earning her B. A. (Hons.) in Psychology and Education from St. Xavier’s College and M. A. in Early Childhood Education from Bombay University.
Besides dancing, Pallavi has a deep interest in literature. At St. Xavier’s College, she was President of the Gujarati Association for two years, where she organized dance performances, plays and talks on Gujarati culture, traditions and literature.

In Mumbai, she continued honing her dancing skills. She learnt Manipuri style of classical dance form from her late Guru Arjun Desai, who had also taught Hindi cinema’s one of the finest actresses, Asha Parekh, who has been honored with the Padma Shri in 1992; and with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2020. Manipuri style is inspired by the devotional theme of Madhura rasa of Radha Krishna. She also learnt Bharat Natyam and successfully performed her arangetram. In school, she performed in ‘Amrapali’, a legendary fable of court danseuse of captivating charm,living in Vaishali. And later,she performed in a classical Sanskrit romance ‘Vasavadatta’ at St. Xavier’s College and also at Jai Hind College.

After leaving College, she met with Ashwin bhai, who had returned from the U.S. with an Engineering degree. They got married at the Mahalaxmi Temple, in Mumbai, followed with a lavish reception at the Cricket Club of India! Their son was born in Mumbai.
The couple moved to the U.S. in 1972 for better opportunities. They spent almost 30 years in Rockford. IL. Pallavi got her Teacher Certification and began teaching. She was active in the community and was elected President of the Rockford India Association. She organized many events and also took part in many dance performances. She was also one of the Judges at the FOGANA’s (The Federation of Gujarati Associations of North America) Garba competition held in New Jersey.

Pallavi and Ashwin bhai moved to Atlanta in 2011 to live with their son and family. She has performed different genres of dances at Seniors Citizens Program (SCP)Inc.; Gujarati Samaj of Atlanta; Shree Shakti Mandir; the Hindu Temple of Atlanta; Gokuldham; Shiv Mandir; IACA; Festival of India, etc.
Pallavi believes that dance is an exciting and ever evolving art-form and one must strive to push the boundaries with continuous learning, practicing and experimenting with innovative, creative and imaginative dance technique and choreography. She loves dancing–both solo and in groups. However, she prefers dancing solo as it gives her freedom to soar high like a carefree bird in the sky. She performs variety of riveting classical and folk dances in aesthetically designed colorful costumes, facial, hands and feet adornments, with imaginative props and performed to the devotional music or Bollywood songs. She also conceives and choreographs visually captivating group dances, which calls for right music, props, costumes, selecting dancers with different strengths and planning proper formations, rehearsals etc.

She lauds her family and particularly her husband for being her biggest supporter. “ In fact, he helps making props such as flutes, supadas, perforated clay pots; diyas, etc. or selecting them. He also advises me and accompanies me to the events”.she said.
Pallavi is proficient in Gujarati; Hindi, English and Marathi languages. She enjoys reading literature and composing poems mainly in Gujarati. She has recently published her book of about hundred poems, titled ‘Hridayna Rangtarango’ written in free verse. The poems are short, but thoughtful and engaging. They are on varied topics and in simple but effective words, conveying her inner thoughts and feelings about life. Her poems are on celebrating festivals like Diwali; New Year resolutions, good and bad consequences of using a cell phone, childhood memories; saving the mother earth, and nature’s gifts; living in the present; and more.
Her poems have appeared in Atlanta’s Rashtra Darpan magazine. The book has only limited copies to share among her friend circle and poetry lovers. She recites her poems on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries; festivals etc. She also makes short video clips of her dances and poem recitations and posts them on Facebook.

Pallavi and Ashwin bhai enjoys travelling. They have been to different parts of India, Australia, New Zealand, to name a few places, on their own or with groups.
Pallavi also loves cooking. While they lived for about four years in New Hampshire, she conducted cooking classes, which were very popular.

Pallavi leads an active life. She has formed ‘Atlanta Seniors Garba Group’ where she inspires other seniors with garba moves. The members enjoy the camaraderie and social bonding while practicing and later performing garbas at different venues.
Pallavi is a proof that age is just a number. She is full of fizz and keeps fit with regular workouts at the Emory Decatur Wellness Center.
Her interesting and inspiring journey continues. She has led an eventful, fulfilling and rewarding life so far. Even at the ripe age of 80, She remains upbeat, jovial, ever hopeful and helpful to all,

' Jan-13-2024