Perspective: Mentorship Interview with Mentee, Deeta Saravanan

Name: Deeta Saravanan
Age: 13
Where are you from/Where do you live? I am originally from Michigan, but I moved to Georgia a couple years ago!
Mentor: Sara Adams, New York City Ballet

What made you want to be a part of the PointePeople Mentorship Program?
I first wanted to be a part of this program because of the amazing one-on-one time that mentees get to spend with their mentors, whether that be private lessons or coffee chats. A big part of my training during COVID has been through private lessons in the studio/online, so having the opportunity to work with a professional was so exciting for me.

Why did you want to work with your particular mentor?
New York City Ballet has always been my dream company, and during this past year, I have really fallen in love with the Balanchine style. I’ve never trained super Balanchine/American, so I was really drawn to working on that with my mentor.

Also, a few years ago (even before I started dancing), I had the opportunity to see Sara Adams as Sugarplum in Balanchine’s, The Nutcracker! She was beautiful, and I've admired her ever since.

What is your favorite part of the program, so far?
My favorite part of the program, so far, has probably got to be the master classes we have every weekend. I’ve learned so much from each individual mentor in this program, and I’m so grateful for that. I also love the coffee chats that I have with my mentor every month. She is so kind and has helped me so much, whether that be through talking about technique, auditions, cross-training, and even how to make my pointe shoes last longer!

Deeta Saravanan
Deeta Saravanan

Is there anything unexpected you’ve learned or experienced through the program, so far?
Something that I didn’t know prior to applying to the program was that we would have master classes with all the mentors and other mentees. I love attending them because I learn so much and gain guidance from the other mentors.

What is the best advice you’ve received from your mentor?
The best piece of advice that I’ve received from my mentor is to dance bigger and go for it! I often struggle with self-doubt and thinking I’m not good enough, but Sara has helped me realize that you have to put yourself out there and not be afraid of rejection. If you never try, you’ll never fail, but you’ll also never succeed.

How is this program helping you to grow as an artist and dancer?
This program is helping me grow as an artist and dancer by allowing me to dig deep into my dancing and find those key elements. This program has also allowed me to meet some amazing dancers over Zoom, some of whom I’ve looked up to for years!

I remember watching videos on YouTube of Chisako Oga at the Prix de Lausanne, and I was so fortunate to be able to take class with her and talk with her afterwards through the PointePeople mentee master class a couple weeks ago!

What would you tell anyone who is considering applying to be a mentee in the future?
I would say go for it! This program has shaped me into the dancer I am today, and I am so thankful for PointePeople and all the mentors who dedicate their time to their mentees. I was originally super nervous to apply and put myself out there, but I’m so glad I did! It truly is an amazing program that helps aspiring dancers.

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