My story starts like that of most typical wide eyed traditionally brought up Gujarati girls! I come from a well educated family and so I completed my MBA somehow because of flaws in our education system and not because I was inspired to study. As these stories go I got married immediately and conceived like there was no tomorrow! A story of a not so savvy girl in today’s age.
Well that is how it began but the nice thing about stories is that they can sometimes take surprising turns as did mine! After my second child, I made the decision to follow my heart and that meant to take up dance seriously. I knew deep down that this was it, as dance made me feel emotion like nothing else did. And so I plunged and I surfaced with a new meaning to my life and there was no turning back!
Two years of intensive training and the perfect co-founder Deepika Ravindran gave me the courage to start my own Dance Academy – Rhythmus HappyFeet which today is known for its unique approach of age appropriate music and syllabus, operates at 3 centres and 3 schools and has grown from 90 to 2000 happy students in a span of just 4 years with the students and company having performed at Kalaghoda art festival, Car Free Day, Beacon Blaze etc
I am grateful for the opportunity to share the lessons learned and challenges faced along this bumpy but pleasurable journey.
It’s never too late
The best discovery has been that it’s never too late to restart, reinvent, and re learn. Even in a profession where every dancer training with me was at least 12 years younger, in an industry which is usually unforgiving as far as age is concerned! I discovered what really mattered was finding my passion and sticking with it no matter what.
Something beautiful can come out of the most ugly situation
I didn’t have it easy! I spent many years of my childhood unable to progress academically and with no insight from those around me, I felt lost…but it is these very years that have made me more human, more accepting of the flaws in others; as I myself had many to deal with; and more non-judgemental.
A noble intention will definitely bring you closer to your goal each day
Today what I want more than anything is for dance and movement to change lives like it has changed mine! And so I’ve made that my mission. It is said – to really make a difference start at the roots and so that’s exactly what we plan to do. We are building a unique creative movement curriculum for schools which will make dance and movement totally child centric as compared to teaching dance which is now very teacher centric. Our goal – to fire up the creative brain of little ones, allowing them the freedom of exploration in a safe, non judgemental environment with tools that would aid in all round development while ensuring a fun, happy dance and movement experience.
The biggest challenge – Growth
The only factor that impedes growth is fear and of course finding courage, especially being a momprenuer, is never easy as we are always multitasking making it difficult to have substantial growth with diverted focus. A great team is what makes you grow faster and I have been blessed with my RHF team and in addition, great support from family, friends and even domestic help! Despite this growth is still a struggle and always never enough!
Just do what it takes
But ‘never enough’ is a good thing as it keeps motivation alive and the will to keep going strong. Our Ballet division is a true example of this. We knew we wanted more and offering Ballet meant having so much in place in order to get started. I have discovered though that waiting for the perfect circumstances means never really starting and so we just started and today we are associated with Ballet manila, Philippines and have a Certified Ballet Curriculum and Deepika ( co- founder ) also went through an intense training in Ballet from Ballet Manila.
Learning starts only when you truly decide to learn and then it never stops.
The so called ‘time to learn’ in school and college didn’t really work out that way for me! I learned superficially because I thought I had to but today I find I am an eternal student, learning because I want to with my thirst to discover newer ways and mediums to spread movement and dance. I recently completed a Certificate in Dance Therapy from the International Dance Council ( Unesco) which brought new insights to dance and movement taking my mission to the next level.
Real joy is in making a difference
Being a Dance Therapist I have realised the difference dance and movement can make to a child and have been working with special children in schools like Dilkhush, St Teresa’s Convent and Lions Special Children School. All these children require is love and your time and the amount of love you receive in return is overwhelming.
Love is the place to start
What we’ve found is that Love really does make the world go around and for me the love of dance, the love of working with children who are our tomorrow and the love of myself is what makes me love my life today and want this so much for others.
No one reads a long blog
Neither do I so it’s time to say goodbye!
Thanks for reading this long blog and thanks Anjali for featuring me!
To all the women wishing to reinvent themselves I say…
Just get moving!
Artistic director &Co-Founder Rhythmus HappyFeet