Our Philosophy . . .

"Be the change you want to see in the world."  -Mohandas Gandhi 

Shakti Caravan is the combined umbrella of New York based dance troupe, The Vanaver Caravan and the Shakti Academy of Performing Arts and Healing, in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Together, we form an international collective of artists, entrepreneurs, and idealists who are equally devoted to using the arts as a catalyst for positive social change. We develop creative projects in local communities, which both sustain themselves and provide work and learning and work opportunities for people in all walks of life - regardless of class, gender, age, race. Because of the nature of our work, we rarely limit our projects to one space, one time-line, or even one specific outcome. Our goal, with each program is to push people to recognize the humanity in themselves and others. In doing so, we aim to build a more peaceful, conscientious, and understanding global community.  

How Did This Begin? Two Companies. One Mission. 

The Vanaver Caravan World Dance & Music Co. 

The Vanaver Caravan (TVC) is an internationally acclaimed nonprofit dance and music troupe based out of New Paltz, New York.  We envision a world where people understand and respect one another – where our differences unite rather than divide us.  Recognizing that the arts often communicate what words fail to express, the mission of The Vanaver Caravan is to inspire, through dance and music, the harmonious co-existence of world cultures and traditions, and to promote peace and celebrate our humanity.

Founded in 1972 by Bill and Livia Vanaver, The Vanaver Caravan has had a long, successful history of professional touring, humanitarian and human rights work, peace advocacy, and widely celebrated arts-in-education programs.  Working alongside organizations such as the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation,  Sloop Clearwater, and Auroville, our high-spirited, down-home performances and workshops have brought light and joy to diverse audiences across the globe.  

Shakti Academy of Performing Arts & Healing

Shakti Academy is the product of a small NGO called Big Medicine Charitable Trust, based in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Our work is democratic, ecological, and centers around human rights. We develop communities committed to leading the world towards peace and nonviolence. We work with local artists and activists to create a continuous stream of festivals and education programs in Udaipur, which aim to inspire change and collaboration between Udaipur, locals and international artists with whom we partner.  

Our mission is to build upon the best of Udaipur's cultural legacies in collaboration with local/global visionaries to create a 21st century model for sustainable heritage cities. With the development of the Shakti Academy of Performing Arts and Healing, we aim to put our mission to practical use: Shakti Academy will be an international hub for creative thinkers, activists, and virtuoso artists to come together and share their traditions. The academy will be a space in Udaipur where class, gender, and economic means become irrelevant and the arts are a primary avenue for growth and social change.   

Together, we created the Shakti Caravan. Our programs work towards our combined mission to create change through the arts.

  • Arts in Education

    • Vanaver-trained teaching artists (hailing from across the globe) teach world dance in schools across India
    • Past and current arts-in-education programs include: Mahilla Mandall's Indigenous Girl's School, St Paul's School, St. Mary's School, St, Paul's Senior Secondary School, The Uppli Badhi School, St. Patrick's School, Swaraj University, Tappovan Ashram, Happy Hour's School (Jodhpur, Rajasthan), The Akiyam School (Auroville, Pondicherry)
  • Gender Equality 

    • Endorsed by Arun Gandhi, our "Fighting for Change" program teaches Martial Arts and self-defense courses for women and men
    • We work on non-violent communication and gender discourse through movement, trust, and healing-arts workshops
  • Cultural Exchange

    • Ongoing dance exchange programs between local Udaipur dancers and Vanaver dancers in both New York and Udaipur. 
    • Link study abroad & volunteer opportunities
  • Performances & Workshops 

    • We perform and teach at theaters, weddings, universities, cafes, festivals, and holiday celebrations throughout Udaipur. 
  • Ecology & Environment

    • The Shakti Academy site is, itself an entirely self-sustaining eco-hub, dedicated to the education and greening of Udaipur City
    • Shakti Caravan facilitates arts projects, workshops, festivals, and advocacy programs to clean up Udaipur's lakes, and streets
    • We also working with city officials to create more sustainable, comprehensive waste-treatment programs  

Meet Our Team.