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Dancing through Life: The timeless grace of Pallavi Patel

BY MAHADEV DESAI

Cover photo: Pallavi Patel’s dafli dance at the Shri Shakti Mandir.

At 80 years old, Pallavi Patel defies age, embodying a spirit that remains forever youthful. This charismatic resident of Atlanta is more than a dancer and poet; she’s a testament to the boundless energy and passion that infuse every facet of her life.

Pallavi illuminates community events with scintillating dance performances and captivating poetry recitations. Beyond her modest demeanor lies a woman of multifaceted talents, and an unyielding zest for life. Born in Baroda, Gujarat, on an auspicious Dhuleti day in 1943, Pallavi’s name, meaning “a creeper in full bloom with new tender leaves,” perfectly encapsulates her vibrant spirit.

From a young age, Pallavi’s innate passion for dance manifested as she swayed to the rhythm of HMV records played by her father. Her journey led her to Mumbai, where she earned her B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology and Education from St. Xavier’s College and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Bombay University.

Performing at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale.

Pallavi’s interests extend beyond the realm of dance, delving into literature. As the President of the Gujarati Association at St. Xavier’s College, she organized dance performances, plays, and discussions on Gujarati culture, traditions, and literature. In Mumbai, she honed her dance skills, learning the Manipuri style from her late Guru Arjun Desai, who had also trained renowned actress Asha Parekh.

Her repertoire expanded to include Bharat Natyam, and she successfully performed her arangetram. Pallavi graced school stages with legendary performances in ‘Amrapali’ and ‘Vasavadatta,’ showcasing her talent in classical Sanskrit dance.

After marrying Ashwin bhai, the couple moved to the U.S. in 1972, spending nearly three decades in Rockford, IL. Pallavi’s contributions to the community were vast, from teaching and organizing events to judging prestigious competitions.

Relocating to Atlanta in 2011, Pallavi continued to captivate audiences with diverse dance genres at various venues. She believes in the ever-evolving nature of dance, pushing boundaries through continuous learning and experimentation. Pallavi’s preference for solo performances allows her the freedom to soar like a carefree bird in the sky.

Pallavi Patel’s book of poetry.

Acknowledging her family’s unwavering support, especially from her husband, Pallavi excels not only in dance but also in languages. Proficient in Gujarati, Hindi, English, and Marathi, she recently published a book of a hundred poems titled ‘Hridayna Rangtarango.’

Pallavi’s poems, featured in Atlanta’s Rashtra Darpan magazine, cover a spectrum of topics, from celebrating festivals to reflecting on technology’s impact. She shares her artistic expressions through recitals and social media, showcasing her dances and poetry.

An avid traveler and passionate cook, Pallavi and Ashwin bhai explore the world together, creating cherished memories. Leading an active life, Pallavi established the ‘Atlanta Seniors Garba Group,’ inspiring seniors with her enthusiasm for dance.

Pallavi Patel defies age, remaining upbeat, jovial, and ever-helpful. Her journey continues to inspire, reflecting a life rich in fulfillment and reward.

Striking a pose at the Senior Citizens Program event where she performed.
At Gwinnett South Center Cultural Program on August 15.
Gujarati Samaj of Atlanta, Valentine’s Day Program.
With Hina Ferrell at Shri Shakti Mandir annual program.

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